The New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) is supporting an initiative by Auckland Transport to improve the safety of young drivers in Auckland by encouraging and supporting some of their younger players to move through the drivers licence system.

Young driver-related crashes in the Auckland region increased by 21% in 2015, resulting in 18 deaths and 181 serious injuries.

Auckland Transport’s Community Transport Manager Claire Dixon says “This is a worrying result and highlights the need to continue road safety work in this area.”

The players will be helped through the licence system and will get support to challenge the social norm of driving unsafely and how to develop their skills to resist peer pressure.

Blues Personal Development Manager Victoria Hood says “This is a fantastic opportunity to encourage players to get their drivers licence, become independent and focus on road safety.”

This strengths based approach has a double benefit in improving the safety of the players themselves by helping them move through the licence system, as well as the potential influence they can have on other young drivers and their networks.

Claire Dixon says young drivers have a high exposure to crash risk due to their lack of driving experience and still-evolving cognitive abilities. “They’re more likely to be involved in a crash with multiple occupants in the vehicle and this highlights the importance of skills to resist peer pressure.”

This is a fantastic opportunity to encourage players to get their drivers licence, become independent and focus on road safety - Blues Personal Development Manager Victoria Hood