New Zealand's minimum driving age is likely to rise by one year to 16 under a Government road safety strategy to be unveiled tomorrow.
The restricted driving test will also be toughened, to encourage youngsters to spend more time practising under supervision before going solo.
And all drivers aged under 20 face a zero alcohol limit, but with some leniency for those found with just tiny traces in their blood.
But the Government has put off a decision on the adult alcohol limit.
New Zealand youngsters are 60 per cent more likely than their Australian counterparts to die in crashes - a comparison seen by Transport Minister Steven Joyce as "a sad indictment."
They suffer an average of about 21 deaths a year for every 100,000 in their age group, compared with Australia's rate of 13.
A decision in principle by the Government to raise the driving age by one year represents a compromise, given greater apparent public support for lifting it to 17.
That, and imposing a zero blood alcohol limit for certain categories of drivers, shared second place in the preferences of more than 1200 people who responded to a public invitation to rank 61 ideas for improving safety.
Compulsory third party vehicle insurance proved the most popular idea, but the Government believes high existing coverage - of more than 92 per cent of the national fleet - means it is unlikely that added gains would outweigh hefty administration costs.
The widow of a man killed by a 15-year-old driver said last night that increasing the education and supervision given to young drivers was just as important as increasing their age.
Kathy Condon's husband, Graham, a Christchurch City councillor and Paralympian, died when a teenager failed to take a corner and crashed into his cycle in September 2007.
The girl was in breach of her restricted licence by carrying four other passengers at the time.
Mrs Condon said she remained convinced that distraction in the car caused the girl to crash.
She said she and her husband had not let their two children learn to drive until they were older than 16, because they felt 15 was too young.
Mrs Condon said she would like to see the legal driving age pushed up to 17 but if it was raised to 16, that was "certainly an improvement on 15".
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Here's a really funny joke related to this blog topic) that I got in the mail today ...