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NZ gov't raises minimum driving age to 16

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand is increasing its minimum driving age from 15 to 16 in an effort to make its roads safer.

New Zealand has one of the lowest driving ages in the developed world, a legacy of a farm-driven economy in which teens are expected to be able to operate farm vehicles from a young age.

However, Transport Minister Steven Joyce says young drivers are disproportionately involved in accidents that cause serious injuries. While people under 25 years old account for just 15 percent of all of New Zealand's drivers, they are involved in 35 percent of serious accidents.

The new policy went into effect Monday.

Another law that goes into effect next week will ban people under 20 years old from drinking any amount of alcohol and then driving. The legal drinking age in New Zealand is 18.

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