Young drivers

Learning to drive is an important life skill for young people. It gives them access to employment and participation in social, cultural and sporting activities. However, it's a sad fact that all over the world young drivers have a high crash rate when they first start driving on their own.

How New Zealand compares

Out of 29 comparable countries, New Zealand has the second-to-highest death rate on average in the 15-24 age group.

Did you know?

  • The most dangerous time for young drivers is the initial six months after they get their restricted licence and are driving solo
  • Young drivers make up only 7% of drivers, but 14% of crashes
  • 78% of young drivers in fatal crashes are male
  • Road death is the second most common cause of death for young New Zealand men after suicide

The main factors

The main factors for young drivers who have crashes are inexperience and age, but the vast majority of New Zealand's young drivers are responsible and make it safely through the learning to drive process.

AA speaking up for motorists

The existing graduated driver licensing system is not adequately preparing our young drivers for when they start to drive solo on our roads.

Three key changes to keep young drivers safer

These changes are needed to New Zealand's graduated driver licensing system to keep our young drivers safe.

Double the period of the learner licence from 6 months to 12 months to increase the supervised driving experience

This will ensure new drivers get more on-road experience before they drive solo. Young drivers are extremely safe when supervised but their crash risk increases dramatically when they first start driving on their own. International best practice is for 120 hours of supervised driving before driving without supervision and New Zealand's transport authorities are now recommending our learner drivers clock-up this amount of practice before sitting their restricted licence test. Yet they are still able to take the restricted test six months after they gain their learners licence, meaning they would had to have spent an unrealistic 40 minutes driving with supervision every day to have achieved the 120-hour figure.

Require all new drivers to complete a compulsory attitudinal training course as part of their restricted licence

This will ensure that all new drivers are aware of, and understand the risks and responsibilities of driving on our roads.

Make the restricted licence test tougher, include risk management such as eye scanning and hazard detection

The restricted licence test will be made more difficult and longer from February 2012. This has been called for by the AA for some time and will ensure that new drivers are better prepared to recognise hazards and identify risks when they start driving solo. New Zealand has previously a high pass rate by international standards, which indicates the restricted licence test may have been too easy.

How the AA helps young drivers

We help young people to become safer drivers in a number of ways.

AA Driver Education Foundation

Learn more about the non-profit organisation, AA Driver Education Foundation and its work in the areas of young driver education, research and training.

AA Driver Training and Defensive Driving Courses

AA Driver Training and the Defensive Driving Course assist young people to become safer drivers. The AA can also help you get your driver's licence.

Choose a safer car

Check out our used car safety ratings and new car crash test results. Young drivers are at higher risk, so it's a good idea for them to drive cars with a higher than average safety rating.

Alter your insurance policy to cover a young driver

Most insurance policies exclude drivers under 25 years old, unless named on the policy. If you add an under 25 year old driver to your policy, you'll be covered for any valid claim where an under 25 driver is driving your vehicle. To add this benefit you will need to pay additional premium and an additional excess will apply for this driver.

Read more on the AA Insurance website

AA Youth Membership

If you're under 20, AA Youth Membership is only $50.00.

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