The NZ Transport Agency sought to better understand how licensing point systems (LPSs) operate, including how different population groups respond to LPSs
A literature review provided a theoretical background for understanding the functions of LPSs and factors that may influence LPS effectiveness.
The LPSs that exist worldwide were studied to identify the features of a ‘best-practice’ system.
The Transport Agency offence data for all New Zealand-licensed drivers from 2005 to 2014 was analysed to explore how individuals and cohort drivers respond to licensing points, and to identify factors that impact on the likelihood of multiple offending.
An on-line survey of a representative sample of 999 New Zealand adult car-licence holders and focus groups with four key road-user groups (young novice drivers, Māori drivers, professional drivers and motor cyclists) were conducted to investigate knowledge of, and attitude toward, the LPS, as well as acceptability of possible refinements.
Results suggested approaches for refining the LPS to strengthen deterrence for a substantial group of repeat offenders (including focus on key offences), and to enhance the ability of the LPS to identify, suspend and remediate the smaller group of incalcitrant recidivist offenders.
Consistent enforcement, and initiatives to enhance public knowledge and awareness of the LPS and enforcement activities, are critical to supporting the system.
Careful consideration of the broader policy implications of approaches to align with international best practice LPSs would be required before the adoption of approaches which effectively balance of deterrence, road safety and fairness.
Keywords: demerit point system, deterrence, licensing point system, motorist behaviour, penalty point system, road rule compliance