14 Nov 2009

Government may raise driving age

5:31 pm on 14 November 2009

Raising the driving age is one of several road safety initiatives to be discussed by the Government next year.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says crashes in which young drivers were at fault resulted in 122 deaths and 800 injuries last year.

Mr Joyce says the Government's road safety strategy for the next decade will target reducing the number of fatal and serious vehicle crashes involving young people.

The minister will put a package of options to the Cabinet for discussion early next year, which includes the potential raising of the driving age from 15 to 16 or 17.

Extending the period of time it takes to get a licence, impounding vehicles of young drivers who breach their licence conditions and introducing compulsory third party insurance will also be considered.

The Automobile Association has been calling for major changes to the road safety strategy, saying the current measures have failed to reduce death and injury to projected levels. The AA says more than "just tweaking" is required for the next decade.