Each year, around 450 young drivers are killed or seriously injured in crashes. Young drivers, especially those in the restricted phase of the Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS), continue to be over-represented in crashes on New Zealand roads. Despite legislative changes to the GDLS and the introduction of a zero-alcohol limit, these drivers are more likely to crash in their first six to twelve months of driving solo than at any other time of their life.
The role their car plays in the outcome of these crashes is significant. The New Zealand light vehicle fleet has a high proportion of one and two-star safety-rated cars that provide little protection to occupants in the event of a crash. Eighty-one percent of New Zealand’s young driver deaths and serious injuries have happened in a one or two-star safety-rated car. Even scarier is the fact that these cars make up 45% of the country’s vehicle fleet - approximately 1.49 million cars.
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Our research shows that to most people, a safe car is one that has a current warrant of fitness (WOF). They also believe that a vehicle’s age or brand can be a safety factor. Only 27% of people actually know what a safety rating is and how important it is. A five-star safety-rated car offers the safest level of protection for its occupants while a one-star safety-rated car offers the least. Drivers in a one-star safety-rated car are 90% more likely to die or sustain a serious injury in a crash than they would if they’d been driving a five-star safety-rated car. We want to raise awareness of this, especially to parents of young drivers.
Traditionally, parents of young drivers have put their teen in a cheaper car to avoid potential damage to theirs. However, usually these cars have a lower safety rating. With young drivers far more likely to crash due to inexperience, it makes sense to put them in the safest car possible.
Our young driver’s campaign continues to target parents (35 – 60 years) of young drivers who hold a current driver’s licence (learners, restricted or full). The secondary audience is teens (16 – 19 years) that live at home with their parents.
Previously we’ve asked parents of young drivers to stay involved and enforce the conditions of the restricted drivers licence: home by 10pm and no passengers. This new campaign encourages parents of young drivers to let their teens drive the safest car available to them. Parents generally accept that teens are likely to have some sort of crash in the early years of driving, but to them that usually means a scratch or a ding. The reality is, as young drivers are at the highest risk of crashing in the first six months of driving solo, this is when they need the most protection.
The campaign aims to show parents that young driver crashes can be severe. We want parents to see the real threat to their teen, so they worry about their safety as opposed to their cars. Parents who are looking to buy a ‘new’ car for their teen, are encouraged to look for a car with a good safety rating – ‘the safer the car, the safer they are.’
The campaign launched on 25 November 2018 on television, TVNZ OnDemand, 3NOW, cinema, print, online via YouTube and other relevant sites, and on social media.
In support of TV, we will be referring to how you can check out the safety rating of a car by going to the Rightcar website(external link)
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