Evaluating a package of interventions to improve young driver safety
Young driver safety is a high priority in New Zealand’s 10 year road safety strategy, Safer Journeys. A target has been set to reduce the rate of fatalities among young people in New Zealand from 21 per 100,000 to a level closer to Australia’s 13 per 100,000 (2008 figures). Under this strategy a number of changes have already been implemented: the licensing age was raised to 16 and the licensing test toughened, a zero alcohol limit for under 20-year olds was introduced in 2011, and policing has been targeted to ensure more young people are driving within their licence conditions. Education and advertising initiatives have also been developed to support these changes, and to encourage more parental involvement and safer vehicle choices. The effects of these legislative, enforcement and education interventions have been monitored and evaluated through changes in road crash patterns, audience reactions to the advertising messages, licence offences committed by young drivers, and surveys of driver knowledge and attitudes. Since the changes have been made, the number of drink-driving offences by teenagers decreased by more than 50%, reported crashes involving young drivers decreased by one-third, and some parents have shown an increased intention to remain part of their teenagers’ driving supervision beyond the restricted test. The relationships between these interventions and the results achieved so far will be discussed in this paper.