Issue: A major issue in New Zealand society today is the road toll

Student 4: High Achieved
A major issue in New Zealand society today is the road toll (the number of deaths that are
occurring on our roads). In 2009 384 people were killed in road accidents. The Automobile
Association believes that it is important to reduce our road toll as too many people die
unnecessarily on New Zealand roads. Superintendent Paula Rose from the New Zealand
Police also believes that something needs to be done about the road toll. During the 2010
Christmas period when 27 people died she stated that “The loss of any life is unacceptable
to me. I can never forget the 27 people who are not with us or the families whose holidays
were completely ruined.”
Aims of the Campaign:
The AA campaign of ‘Saving Ourselves’ had 3 main areas of focus ‘safe speeds, safe vehicles
and safe roads’. They wanted to influence the government to make policy changes
especially focusing on young people. This would involve changing the learner’s age from 15
to 16. Strengthening the restricted license test and decreasing the blood/alcohol limit to 0
for under 20 year olds.
Reasons for individuals’ and/or groups’ involvement in the campaign:
Research from the AA identified that there is an over representation of young drivers
involved in crashes. In 2008 37% of all fatal crashes and 38% of all serious injury crashes
involved young people aged from 15-24. A major aim of the AA campaign is to reduce the
number of young people who are involved in fatal crashes. The AA believe that if you can
change the driving habits of young people they will carry that through with them their
whole life.
Reasons for selecting the actions within the campaign
One action that the AA undertook in their ‘Saving Ourselves’ campaign was to collaborate
with research done by Waikato University and the Driver Education Foundation. This
research focused on the frontal lobe development in young people. This research showed
that the frontal lobe, part of the brain for organising behaviours and emotional responses,
does not become fully developed until 25 years of age. By taking this action the AA would
not only raise awareness of the problems with teenage drivers but would also provide
evidence to support their desire to increase the driving age from 15 to 16.
Another action was to put in a submission to Parliament on the Driver Licensing Bill in 2010.
In the submission the AA supported the purpose of the Bill to extend the length of the
learner licensing period from 6 months to 12 months, and also supported raising the
minimum solo driver licensing age from 15.5 years to 16 or 16.5 years. The AA produced
statistics from Sweden that shows a 40% reduction in young driver crashes when the
Learner period was extended from 6 months. The AA presented a submission as they had
been lobbying for changes to road laws for years. AA General Manager Mike Noon said “We
want agencies to get on and make these law changes as soon as possible.
Consequences of the Campaign
A real consequence of the AA ‘Saving Ourselves’ campaign was the laws passed by
Parliament that made it harder for young people to be able to drive legally. This means that
young people will not be able to drive until they are much older. A potential consequence of
the new laws passed in parliament might be that young people would ignore them and carry
on driving.