The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has a simple message for teenagers - if you're planning on drinking, don't plan on driving.
NZTA Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield said the zero alcohol limit for teenage drivers coming into force this Sunday (August 7) would remove any uncertainty for young drivers on the issue of drink-driving.
“A zero alcohol limit for teens removes any guesswork. If you’re under 20, you can’t consume any alcohol before driving – end of story.”
Mr Dangerfield said young drivers were over-represented in crashes and the zero alcohol limit, together with changes to New Zealand’s driver licensing regime, would address the key factors which put them at increased risk.
“Too many of our young people are dying or being badly injured in crashes on our roads. Road crashes are the single biggest killer of New Zealand teens, and we have the highest road death rate in the OECD for 15-17 year olds.
“That’s a situation no-one should accept - bringing in a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20, toughening up licence tests and raising the minimum driving age to 16 will help to improve the poor safety record of young drivers in New Zealand.”
The minimum age for obtaining a learner driver licence increased from 15 years to 16 years from Monday August 1. Mr Dangerfield said the NZTA was working on changes to toughen up the restricted licence on-road driving test in order to encourage 120 hours of supervised driving in the Learner licence stage, with the new tests likely to be implemented in February 2012.
Earlier this year the NZTA launched www.safeteendriver.co.nz(external link), a dedicated new website providing free advice and tools for the parents of teen drivers.
For further information on zero blood alcohol for teen drivers go to: www.transport.govt.nz/news/newsevents/ZeroBACdriversunder20/(external link)