High risk drivers

The NZ Herald reports:

One in three road deaths are caused by speeding, young and repeat drunk drivers, according to a new report released by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

The Ministry of Transport report shows that between 2005 and 2009 642 people were killed in crashes where high-risk drivers were at fault.

The report is well worth reading. There is lots of interesting info in it.

The report defines high-risk drivers as unlicensed and disqualified drivers, those with previous speed and alcohol offences, or those who drive over the legal alcohol limit, evade enforcement or take part in illegal street racing.

Those drivers were at fault in 35 per cent of fatal crashes, the research shows.

It’s good to have some research focusing on the drivers who cause a disproportionate nunber of road deaths. It would have been useful to have them also calculate what percentage of the driving population are “high risk”, so one might then have a figure along the lines of “The 4% of drivers who are high risk cause 35% of fatal crashes”.

I tend to favour measures that target high risk drivers.

The minister also released an addition to the report showing that when at-fault young drivers who were not already classified as high risk were added to high-risk drivers, together they comprised 53 per cent of at-fault drivers in fatal crashes and 48 per cent of at-fault drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes.

Hence the Minister says his priorities are:

  • A zero drink drive limit for young drivers and repeat drink drivers
  • Raising the driving age
  • Tougher licensing tests for new drivers
  • Alcohol interlocks for repeat drink drivers
  • Doubling the prison penalties for dangerous drivers who cause death.

Sensible targeted measures, which target the drivers who cause the most crashes, rather than targetting those who drive at a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08 – a level at which almost no over 25 year old drivers are involved in fatal crashes.

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