Give way road rule change confirmed

Changes to give-way rules.
Changes to give-way rules.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has confirmed "confusing" give way rules for turning vehicles are to be changed.

Under the current law, left-turning traffic has to give way to right-turning traffic coming towards it.

Under the changes announced today, this would be reversed so the left turning vehicle would have right of way.

Changes were also planned to the rule for T-intersections, when there were conflicting right turns.

 The proposed changes would reverse the give way rule, allowing left turning traffic right of way.

At T-intersections, where two cars are turning right, the car turning off the main road would have right of way - reversing the status quo.

The changes would come into effect in early 2012, Mr Joyce said.

"Our current give way rules for turning vehicles are confusing and out of step with the rest of the world. Research shows changing the rules could reduce relevant intersection crashes by 7 per cent."

New Zealand's give way rule was introduced in 1977 and holds that a vehicle turning right takes precedence over a vehicle turning left.

New Zealand is the only country in the world with this priority rule. The Automobile Association says the rules are a factor in 2560 intersection crashes, and one or two deaths, each year. Some 17 percent of crashes are at intersections.

The Government has also announced changes to motorcycle and moped laws including a power to weight restriction for novice riders, as well as:

* Tougher motorcycle licence tests which are also more motorcycle specific;

*Removing the option for motorcycles to complete an approved driving course, and so cutting the amount of time they spend on a restricted motorcycle licence;

* Motorcycle specific training to be introduced as an alternative to the standard resting regime;

*Requiring all novice motorcyclists, regardless of age, to be subject to the same minimum time requirements.

Currently over 25 year olds have a shorter time requirement on the restricted licence.

* Require all moped riders to complete a moped handling skills test along with a motorcycle learner theory test

*Introduce refresher training options and promote high visibility and protecting clothing benefits.

Power to weight restrictions would allow novice riders a greater range of bikes that were suited to their skill levels, Mr Joyce said.

"Motorcyclists are 20 times more at risk of being involved in a fatal or serious injury crash than car drivers per kilometre driven.``