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Drivers push the limits on licences

With near-daily crashes reported on Wairarapa roads and the national holiday road toll climbing to 14, Waka Kotahi NZTA data reveals limited licence applications are rising.

Data obtained under the Official Information Act showed the number of limited licence applications processed by NZTA had jumped close to 30 per cent in the past year.

The court can make an order for a limited licence to alleviate extreme or undue hardship for disqualified or suspended drivers, including those convicted of driving offences, such as dangerous, or drink-driving.

A successful limited licence application to NZTA permits the driver to get behind the wheel under a specific set of circumstances as determined by the District Court judge.

From January-November 2022, NZTA received 4144 court-ordered limited licence applications, a big increase on the 2751 received for the entire 2021 year. As of November 25, NZTA had 75 limited licence applications on hand.

Despite the increase on the year before and receiving a whopping 599 applications in September alone, NZTA said applications were turned around within the targeted four working day timeframe.

The transport agency did not hold data for Masterton District Court-ordered limited licences.

However, motorists convicted of drink-driving offences can apply for a limited licence upon completion of an alcohol interlock programme.

Ministry of Justice data showed in the past financial year, 13,932 people were convicted of drink-driving and 3,603 alcohol interlock orders were made by New Zealand courts.

Masterton District Court accounted for 31 alcohol interlock orders, a decline from the 46 orders made between July 2020 and June 2021.

Of the 145 people facing drink-driving charges in Masterton in the past financial year, 129 people were convicted, 57 fewer than the year before.

Three of the drivers convicted in Masterton District Court were sentenced to prison, while 29 were placed under supervision, and the majority, 62, were issued with a fine.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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