The figure issued in an NZPA story on 8 November about the number of drivers who haven’t upgraded to photo driver
licences is very misleading and does not mean the project is not succeeding, says Director of Land Transport Safety Reg
"Our figures show that 55,000 people a week are applying for the new photo driver licence and that puts us right on
track to reach our target of upgrading 2.4 million drivers by the end of the campaign. Last week we issued the one
millionth photo driver licence and to date the project is running to target and on budget.
"The figure of 232,000 people not upgrading mentioned by NZPA doesn’t actually refer to drivers as such, but to all
people held on the old paper driver licence database, which is being replaced with the new photo driver licence
"There are people on the paper licence database who, for varying reasons, are either unable to drive or choosing not to
drive - and therefore not to renew."
Mr Barrett said that at any one time there can be 400,000 or more New Zealanders overseas. There are also those in
prison or in hospital who don’t have the opportunity to renew their licence within the 60 days of their birthday,
drivers who have chosen not to upgrade because they no longer wish to drive, and disqualified drivers who cannot apply
for a new photo driver licence until their disqualification period is up.
"We can’t possibly put an accurate figure on this, and to suggest that all these people are 'criminals' is offensive,"
he said. "Yes, there may well be some people who have not yet bothered to upgrade, but we are confident that we will see
an excellent compliance rate by the end of the project.
"The bottom line is that the LTSA is very happy with the numbers of people who are upgrading and with the way the
project is proceeding. We do acknowledge that there have been some teething problems but these have largely been
resolved," said Mr Barrett.
"The end result will be safer roads for all New Zealanders. We will have made it hard for disqualified or unlicensed
drivers to pose as legal drivers and stopped the abuse of the system. We will also have a lot more drivers on the road
with corrective lenses who must have previously posed some risk to other motorists."
Other facts on driver licensing:
One million photo driver licences have now been issued
More than 18,000 drivers have needed corrective lenses before they could be issued with their new photo driver
The range of identification needed to apply for a photo driver licence has been expanded and now includes a choice of
The average time between applying for a licence and receiving a licence currently sits at ten days
There are currently 55,000 photo driver licence applications being made each week
In response to demand for more driver licensing outlets, mobile units and relocatables are now visiting smaller
Improvements to the endorsement regime have been made to allow drivers holding endorsements to renew their
endorsements annually rather than every five years
On 4 October, transitional arrangements for older drivers were eased. Drivers aged 71 and over with expired licences
can now drive on a temporary licence without a supervisor or “L” plates until they sit the older driver test.