Safe road use

Goal for 2020

The Safe System goal is road users who are skilled, competent, alert and unimpaired; they comply with road rules, take steps to improve road safety and expect safety improvements.

Where we are

Achievements since 2010 include:

Young drivers

  • Raised the minimum driving age to 16 years and strengthened the driver licensing test.
  • Implemented a zero Blood Alcohol Concentration for drivers under 20 years of age.
  • Launched on-line interactive website “Drive” for learner drivers.
  • Introduced Community Driver Mentor Programme where volunteers mentor learner drivers.
  • Produced road safety resources that support the school curriculum.

Drink driving

  • Implemented a zero Blood Alcohol Concentration for drivers under 20 years of age.
  • Lowered the Blood Alcohol Concentration to 0.05 for drivers over 20 years of age.
  • Implemented an alcohol interlock programme and extended it in 2017.
  • Increased community responsibility for reducing drink driving (Legend campaign).


  • Introduced a power-to-weight restriction for novice motorcycle riders.
  • Introduced competency-based motorcycling licence testing.
  • Continued to promote and increase the numbers of motorcyclists trained through ACC’s Ride Forever programme.
  • Updated Safer Journeys for motorcycling on New Zealand roads.

Drug driving

  • Raised awareness of the risks posed by drug driving.

Restraint use

  • Increased the age of compulsory child restraint use to children up to 7 years of age.

Visiting Drivers Signature Project

  • Improved the information available to visiting drivers before and during their trips to New Zealand, to increase awareness of the specific risks and requirements for safe driving on New Zealand roads.

What’s happening

Analysis of recent trends shows:

  • Failure to wear seatbelts has almost doubled as a contributor to fatalities when crashes occur (56 in 2014; 100 in 2016); males driving after drinking and at night correlate with failure to wear restraints.
  • The number of high risk drivers (repeat offenders, disqualified, unlicensed or fleeing) involved in fatal or serious injury crashes has increased dramatically from 183 in 2014 to 346 in 2016.
  • Crash deaths among drivers aged 15-24 increased from 5.9 per 100,000 in 2012 to 8.1 in 2015, falling back to 7.7 for the 12 months to June 2017.
  • Fatal or serious injuries in crashes involving alcohol or drugs have increased slightly from 11.0 per 100,000 in 2014 to 11.4 per 100,000 in the 12 months to June 2016.
  • ACC motorcycling entitlement claims have risen from 1,058 in 2014 to 1,238 in the 12 months to June 2017.

Where we want to be by 2020

We need people to better understand the range of risks on the road, including the adverse effect that any level of alcohol and/or drugs has on safe driving and riding. We also want people to make smart and safe choices about road use, supported by developments in technology.

Safer Journeys Action Plan 2016-2020

New Action 1: Enable smart and safe choices

Purpose: To create an environment where technology enables smart and safe choices, reducing fewer deaths and serious injuries for all road users.

Objective: To reduce unintended errors and increase compliance by making real-time information and feedback more available, and make more use of technology and information systems.

Specific actions include public engagement on the value of new safety technologies and piloting of new technologies. Enabler actions include encouraging more use of safety technology and encouraging industry innovation, as well greater use of technologies to support user education and training.

Today’s technology has become an integral part of how we go about our lives. It offers new opportunities for road users to get instant, accurate feedback and information about their environment and road risk. Technology, in particular, intelligent transport systems, has the potential to positively impact on road safety outcomes in the future.

For more information see pages 14-15 of the Safer Journeys Action Plan 2016-2020

New Action 2: Make motorcycling safer

Purpose: To improve road safety outcomes for motorcycling.

Objective: To provide a safe environment for motorcycling, educate and inform motorcyclists, and leverage emerging technology to reduce the severity of motorcycling injuries.

Enabler actions relating to safe motorcycle use include raising awareness of risks, appropriate behaviour and providing training opportunities, incentivising existing riders to develop their skills and developing programmes that make all road users more aware of motorcycle use.

For more information see pages 16-17 of the Safer Journeys Action Plan 2016-2020

These new actions are supported by on-going core road safety activity

On-going core road safety activity

Building on previous Action Plans, as well as the learnings and innovation from the 2013-2015 Signature Programme, core road safety activity relating to safe use will continue under the following broad headings in 2016-2020:

Young drivers

  • Focus on increasing the participation and progression of people through the driver licensing system.

Visiting drivers

  • Information and awareness programmes will continue, in partnership with service providers. Improvements to roads and roadsides on popular, high risk routes will also improve visitor safety.


  • Continued expansion of ACC’s Ride Forever training programme, alignment of testing for motorcycle licences with the competency-based licensing system.

Workplace safety

  • This includes developing a national fleet safety partnership programme co-designed with industry, led by ACC and supported by the NZ Transport Agency and WorkSafe NZ.

High risk drivers

  • Police will continue to target these groups.

Impaired driving/riding (alcohol, drugs, fatigue and distraction)

  • The Transport Agency will continue to educate the public on the broader risks of impairment. The Ministry of Transport will continue to investigate the impact of impairment and potential policy responses, working with the Transport Agency and Police.

Safe System

A Safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury