New road safety legislation passed in parliament last week will require all suspended or disqualified drivers to pay a fee to have their licences reinstated before driving again. The change comes into force from today (10 May).
Previously offenders who had been suspended or disqualified for less than 12 months, and whose licence had not expired, could simply return to driving once their suspension or disqualification period ended.
However, changes included in the Land Transport (Road Safety and Other Matters) Amendment Act mean that anyone who has been disqualified by the Courts or suspended for any reason (other than a 28-day suspension) will need to apply to have their licence reinstated before they can legally return to driving.
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s General Manager Access and Use, Ian Gordon, says it’s important that suspended and disqualified drivers understand that until they have had their licence reinstated they will be unlicensed and are not legally entitled to drive.
“Driving while unlicensed is a serious offence carrying fines of up to $1000. It also carries the risk of having your vehicle impounded,” Mr Gordon said.
The licence reinstatement fee of $66.40 covers the costs incurred by the NZTA when a driver is suspended or disqualified. These costs include administration of the demerit point system, reissuing driver licences, providing temporary licences while the photo licence is being arranged and answering related enquiries.
“It’s a matter of fairness that the drivers with suspensions and disqualifications who have incurred these costs should be the ones who pay for them, instead of the costs being passed on to all other drivers,” Mr Gordon said.
Drivers seeking the reinstatement of their licence will need to apply at a NZTA driver licensing agent. They will have to provide evidence of identity and address, complete an eye check, have their photograph taken, provide an updated signature and pay the reinstatement fee