1 Aug 2011

Legal driving age raised to 16

3:13 pm on 1 August 2011

The minimum legal age for learner drivers licence goes up from 15 to 16 on 1 August.

The Transport Agency says the change was needed as New Zealand's death rate for 15 to 17-year-olds on the road is the highest in the OECD.

It says the age increase will save about five lives per year.

The Automobile Association says it supports the change, but also wants learners to be required to do 120 hours of supervised driving before they can sit their restricted driving test.

The Transport Agency says it is working on toughening the on-road restricted licence test.

Since May this year, there has been a 13% increase in young drivers applying for their learner's licence in anticipation of the new driving age.