Safer Journeys

There is a table of probable first actions for the Government’s Safer Journeys Strategy. They are:

Raise to 16.

I support this one, as I have always seen it as linked to the school leaving age.

Make the restricted licence test more difficult to encourage 120 hours of supervised driving practice.

More supervision before you drive solo sounds good to me. However 120 hours may be a bit too high. That means a (probable) parent spending two hours a day week supervising their kid for 60 weeks.

Introduce a zero drink-drive limit for drivers under 20.

I do support this one, and not just because I am over 20. I think it will be beneficial to have a clear message saying if you are under 20 you should never drive if you have been drinking alcohol. The crash statistics show too many young people don’t know when to stop, so a zero limit makes it easier for friends to intervene also.

Investigate vehicle power restrictions for young drivers.

Not so sure about this, but will be interested to see the research.

Address repeat offenders and high level offending through Compulsory alcohol interlocks and a zero drink-drive limit for offenders.

I prefer solutions that target the problem, and don’t hassle or criminalise the vast majority who are not causing a problem, so supportive of these measures for repeat offenders.

Either, lower the drink-drive limit to BAC 0.05 and introduce infringement penalties for offences between 0.05 and 0.08
Establish the level of risk posed by drivers with a BAC between 0.05 – 0.08.

I remain quite opposed to the first option, even though I note they are talking infringement not criminal penalties. Quite simply the 2007 crash statistics show just two drivers killed in car crashes had blood alcohol limits in the .05 to .08 range. I’ve seen some media reports suggesting 20 to 30 lives a year could be saved by such a change.  This is propaganda.

The second looks like a we’ll do it later version of the first option, but one can hope there is an open mind on the issue.  I certainly would like to see some good research on the risk posed by adults with a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08, but also on the prevalence of adults who drive at that level so one can have an idea of how many people a change may affect, and what the benefits will be.

Develop a classification system for the roading network

That would be useful to know which roads are safest and least safe.

Change the give way rules for turning traffic.

This will be a major change, but I think it is overdue.

In an ideal world we would also change to driving on the right hand side of the road, so tourists who come here don’t pose such a danger, and vice-versa for NZers overseas. However the transition costs would be immense.

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