Law changes for licencing and alcohol limits for teens begin Aug 1st

Law changes for licencing and alcohol limits for teens begin Aug 1st

August 1st marks an end to 15-year olds getting a learner drivers licence in NZ with the new legislation coming into force. The Land Transport Amendment Bill was passed earlier this year and its changes to the existing laws are about to begin.

From next week, you must be 16-years old to apply for a learner drivers licence and won’t be able to attain a full drivers licence until 17 and a half years old, at the earliest. If you are fifteen-years and have already sorted out getting your learner licence, then you will be able to keep it but will need to wait till you’re sixteen before applying for a restricted.

In a move that will prove more important for many teenage drivers, another change in the law that means there is now a zero-blood alcohol limit for drivers under-20. So if you’re under 20-years, and even on a full licence, you can’t drink any alcohol if you plan on driving. From August 1st, the days of finishing your drinking after a couple of beers because you have to drive – are over.

If you are finished with your teenage years then very little changes for you, the adult drink driving limit is staying at the current 800 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Other changes in the law from August 1st include:

  • Tougher restricted licence tests
  • Zero blood alcohol limits for repeat drink drivers
  • Allowing courts the option to require repeat or serious drink drive offenders to use alcohol interlocks, after a mandated 90-day disqualification
  • Doubling the the maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death, from five years to 10

The changes reflect a shift in tolerance to drinking and driving and also attempt to alter the disproportionate number of fatal crashes involving young people.

If you want your say, let us know what you think about these changes to the law in the comments section below.

If you are 16-years or older and want to get your learner licence then go to Driving Tests NZ.

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