10 Dec 2009

Road toll for young NZers far worse than Australia's

9:05 pm on 10 December 2009

The number of young New Zealanders who die in road crashes is more than half as high again as the equivalent figure for Australia.

A report released by Transport Minister Steven Joyce on Thursday says that 21 out of every 100,000 young New Zealanders die on the roads, compared with 13 out of every 100,000 in Australia.

Mr Joyce, who says that's a huge difference, says he wants to submit a policy package on young driver safety to Cabinet early next year.

He says that because of New Zealand's cultural similarities it's appropriate to learn from the Australian example. Australia's higher driving age and longer periods of driver education are among options the Government will consider.

To stimulate debate ahead of the development of a national safety strategy for the next 10 years, the minister has also released another report showing that progress on road safety has slowed over the past 10 years, and targets have not been met.

Mr Joyce has sought to put that in perspective by pointing out that the road toll has more than halved since 1973 while the number of kilometres travelled on the country's roads has more than doubled.