Road Safety wants us to 'drive legal'

Road Safety wants us to 'drive legal'
The "Drive Legal Wairarapa Wide" campaign focuses on keeping the region's cars up to safety standards. FILE PHOTO(WTA).
The Wairarapa Road Safety Council is working with police to encourage motorists in the region to "drive legal".
The "Drive Legal Wairarapa Wide" campaign focuses on keeping the region's cars up to safety standards.

Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said many Wairarapa drivers were putting themselves and others at risk by driving non-legal vehicles and breaching their driver licence conditions.

The former police officer, with 30 years' enforcement experience, said statistics for tickets issued across Wairarapa for 2014 were "worrying". Some 2094 tickets were issued for vehicles that had faults, no warrant of fitness or were not up to WOF standard. More than 1900 tickets had been issued to either unlicensed drivers or to drivers breaching graduated licence conditions.

"As these statistics show, far too many local drivers are flaunting these safety laws," Mr Pauling said.
"Unknown to them, their cars could be unsafe and, by not following licence conditions or being totally unlicensed, they have not proved they have the necessary skills to keep themselves and others safe on Wairarapa roads."
He said driver knowledge and skill base was also what the "drive legal" campaign was about.
"The importance of acquiring the appropriate driving skills via the graduated driver licence system can often be forgotten," Mr Pauling said.
"As drivers move through the system, they are tested to ensure they have acquired the right skills to earn the right to drive on our roads.

"Licence conditions and restrictions, such as a supervisor, not carrying passengers and a curfew, are placed around the novice driver to ensure they graduate to become a competent, safe and responsible road user." As of last year, five-year time limits were applied to learner and restricted licence holders. This means if a driver has not progressed to the next licence stage within five years then they will become unlicensed and risk large fines and demerit points. They will be required to start the whole process over.

Mr Pauling said although keeping a car up to a safe standard could be expensive, it was important to do so. "It is essential that the car you are driving and transporting your whanau and friends in has been checked by a qualified mechanic and is seen to be compliant and safe." He said it was a good idea for people to regularly carry out five-minute checks to ensure their vehicle still met warrant of fitness standard.

People looking to buy a new or used vehicle should look at the available safety features and ratings and decide on the safest car for their budget. Car safety ratings were based on over 7.5 million vehicles in police-reported crashes in New Zealand and Australia from 1987 to 2013. The Australia New Car Assessment Programme (Ancap) star-rated system was based on the results of thousands of laboratory controlled crashes. Mr Pauling said people should base their consumer choice on safety first, followed by other features such as brand and colour of vehicle.

"You could be surprised that the car you have in mind with the flash rims and stereo will not perform that safely or provide enough occupant protection in a serious crash." Drivers needed to look after each other on the roads.

-The government website has safety information on most new and used vehicles.

Anyone with a learner licence who does not have anyone to act as a driving supervisor, or has no access to a legal car to practice, or needs more advice, can contact Bruce Pauling on 06 929 7425 or go to

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

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