Driving Age Up Monday


After years of debate, come Monday the driving age will be increased from 15 to 16 years.
Will it make a difference?
Those motorway /police reality TV shows seem to suggest there is a culture among certain youngish drivers (but some in their 20s) who don’t give a toss about driving drunk or on drugs, piling the car with mates even when they are on a restricted licence and in some cases are driving around without any licence or intention of getting one.
Not to mention the morons who get their kicks from being chased by police. And those who keep reoffending because the punishment is too light -or they never pay their fines.
The ministry of transport says people 15-24 years make up 14.6% of the population and 15% of all licensed drivers.
Last year that age grouping was involved in around 35% of all serious injury crashes.
Crashes where those drivers were at fault resulted in 128 deaths and 697 serious injuries last year.
The Government says increasing the age to 16 strikes a balance between ensuring our young people have the maturity and the cognitive skills to get behind the wheel, and not unduly affecting their personal freedom.

New minimum ages for obtaining Restricted and full licences will also apply.

An exemption process is available for those currently holding a Learner licence as at August 1 who, when they turn 16, wish to progress to a Restricted licence, if they meet certain conditions.

Details of the changes




  1. DanC says:

    I think the penalties are too light for those who break the law. That’s where the rules should change.

  2. rtc says:

    This is one of the few areas where I agree with Joyce, raising the age to 16 is a good start but it should ideally go up to 18 in the next few years. There’s no reason 16 year olds should be driving IMO.

  3. KarlHansen says:

    In fact it is one of those areas (like drunk driving) where Joyce wavered and downlplayed and reduced the change proposals, but in the end decided that a little bit could be done. The only area where he is decisive is when calling in orders to the roadbuilders.

  4. LucyJH says:

    I think it will make a difference but the police are going to have to enforce the restricted license conditions much more rigidly. Which they probably don’t have themoney to do since I don’t remember their funding being increased much in the GPS

  5. Mark says:

    I think it should have stayed at 15. And I say that as a parent of a 15yr old, who has just scrapped in.

    One of the problems we have is we’re delaying our children growing up - longer at school / longer as “kids”. But they actually grow up physically quicker now than previous generations.

    For my boy, we’re doing training now, and we’ll spend the next year every weekend. He will be very well supervised and will probably get a good 2 years of closely supervised driving. So if he then goes off to say Otago he will have had an extra years experience than the next lot coming through.

    Statictically the Learners/restricteds aren’t the issue on the road it’s when they’re older and have their own cars.

    I’d have been happy for learners to still be 15 - restricteds/full moved out 6-12 months.

    The real issue is the number of proper training hours. AA say you need 120 - which will take about a year to get with parental supervision.

  6. Antz says:

    Feh, It is irritating having to pay a quite a few dollars to do a 10 question quiz before getting your license in my opinion…..Sigh! -.-’

  7. Harry McDonald says:

    Yes let’s push up the penalties; that will solve it.
    A 16 year old will have to sit down before driving and weigh up all the possible permutations of how much he/she might be fined. Yeah right!

  8. KarlHansen says:

    “One of the problems we have is we’re delaying our children growing up – longer at school / longer as “kids”. But they actually grow up physically quicker now than previous generations.”

    Mark - numerous studies have shown that driving risk is directly linked to age, and that across the board, this CANNOT be prevented by extra training. Good training may reduce their accident risk, but they still remain hugely more likely to crash (and hit somebody else while doing it) than people who start training later.

    That is not hearsay, that has been proven by numerous studies - empirically (statistics), neurologically, psychological studies. Individual kids can be less risk-prone, but as a group, teenagers are just lethal to themselves and others, plus they are more likely to experience dangerous peer pressure at that age.

    So the driving age should be raised to 18, as it is in most European countries, which put us into the dust in terms of road safety. Individual rights here should clearly be put back for the benefit of all of society.

    I don’t agree that that prevents them from growing up. In fact, they haven’t grown up at 15 at all yet, and you can’t really hasten that. It’s biology, and has nothing to do with size, or their position in society either.

  9. Amber Harrison says:

    Hi, I am just wondering what are the conditions for the exemption, I have had my learners for a year and a half and I am 16?



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