New Traffic Laws

Traffic Law Changes 2011-12

Minimum driving age raised to 16

The minimum driving age for all New Zealand drivers is to be raised from 15 to 16 on the 1st of August 2011.

The restricted licence test by the NZ Transport Agency is to be strengthened (made tougher) and will come into effect on 1 August 2012.


Zero alcohol limit for young drivers (aged under 20)

The youth drink driving limit (anyone aged under 20) is to be reduced, on the 7th of August 2011, to ZERO from the current levels of 150 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath and 30 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood.

This is a major change and it means that all young drivers (under 20) will have to make sure that they do not drink any alcohol at all before they drive a vehicle.


What will happen if a young driver is found to have a blood alcohol level between 0.00 and 0.03 or a breath alcohol level between 0 and 150?

They will receive an infringement offence notice (ticket). This will be an infringement fee (instant fine) of $200 and 50 demerit points.


Major increase in penalties for driving offences causing death

The penalties for offences causing death whilst drink driving, or dangerous driving, or reckless driving or unauthorised street racing have been increased from 5 years’ imprisonment to 10 years’ imprisonment as from 10 May 2011.


Demerit points over 100 are to remain and not be wiped out by service of suspension letter

Currently demerit points remain until two years have passed or the driver has their licence suspended or disqualified for a period of at least three months, whichever comes first.

There have been cases where drivers have continued to incur demerits after already accumulating 100 demerits but before their licence suspension is served. These excess demerits are then wiped. The change will mean that the demerits incurred above 100 remain and are not wiped out by service of the suspension letter.

Currently, drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points have their licence suspended for a single 3-month period and all their demerit points are cleared. The change will mean that drivers can receive another 3-month suspension added onto the end of the first 3-month suspension if they accumulate another 100 demerit points.

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