Minister Confirms Road Safety Law Moves


Transport minister Steven Joyce today confirmed that planned road safety measures, already mooted including raising the driving age, are on their way to Cabinet in a few weeks – and others will follow.

He told the AA conference today in Hamilton on the youth driving age and alcohol changes proposed: “We can debate until the cows come home (and we have) which of these initiatives is the most important, but the reality is most Australian states have most of these laws in place and our youth fatality rate is 60% higher than theirs. “

“So none of these actions is a silver bullet on its own, but combined they can make a real difference to the road toll and to the safety of our young people on the roads.”

Later in the year, he said:

  • he will also be bringing measures for improving the safety of motorcycling
  • will seek to change our give way rules for turning traffic
  • get a focus more on safety improvements, such as rumble strips and median barriers, on the riskiest rural roads as well as our riskiest urban intersections.

Cracking down on speed and drink driving

He told the delegates that that no decision has yet been made about whether to reduce the current adult blood alcohol limit of 0.08 to 0.05.

“This is a very finely balanced argument and we need to ensure that New Zealanders understand the difference between 0.05 and 0.08 and what impact a change would have on the road toll. Most New Zealanders, when asked, agree that the drink drive limit should be at a level of alcohol consumption that equates to a 0.05 limit.

“However, when you ask them whether the current 0.08 limit should be lowered to 0.05, they are split on the issue.

“And as I have said before, if we are going to be successful we need to take New Zealanders with us because there will never be a cop around every corner enforcing every law.

“It is clear though that we still have a serious drink driving problem and the government is committed to taking steps to address that this year.”

He said head-on crashes account for 23 percent of all fatal crashes, yet over 90 percent of them could be avoided by having a median barrier.

“The biggest initiative in this area though comes through the programme of Roads of National Significance where we will be retrofitting and running separate carriageways through our busiest rural highways.

“We’ve prioritised roads like Puhoi to Wellsford, Tauranga to Paengaroa, Auckland to Cambridge and Wellington to Levin - all of which are under spec for the traffic that already travels on them and all of which are among the least safe in the country.”

“The safety benefits of this will be significant.  But of course infrastructure builds do take time.”

The AA conference today endorsed a global campaign to declare a global “Decade of Action for Road Safet” from next year to 2020 – aimed at saving five million lives over the next 10 years.




  1. max says:

    “This is a very finely balanced argument”

    No, it is not. There is practically OPPRESSIVE evidence of the big benefits of cutting the alcohol limit. He’s just worried. Why?

    I like most (well, pretty much all) of the changes, but some need to go further.


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