Revealed: New Zealand's best and worst places to drive

Study reveals the country's safest driver

Revealed: New Zealand's best and worst places to drive

Motor & Fleet

By Gabriel Olano

Tower has revealed the areas with the best and worst drivers in Aotearoa New Zealand, based on the data gathered by the insurer’s GoCarma app.

The app, launched around a year ago, has logged over 10.5 million kilometres driven across 339,713 trips. It uses Bluetooth technology to score a driver’s performance out of 100, based on speed, braking skills and mobile phone usage.

Greymouth was found to have the safest drivers in New Zealand with an average driving score of 79, followed by Hawkes Bay with 78 and Otago with 75.

As for the worst places to drive, major urban centres Auckland and Canterbury scored well below the national average – with 68 and 66, respectively. These areas were also found to have the most distracted motorists, with Auckland and Christchurch drivers between ages 30 and 40 being the most likely to use their device while behind the wheel.

The GoCarma app registers each instance a driver uses their mobile phone, whether to check a message, make a call or look at a map, even during a red light.

Tower also revealed New Zealand’s safest driver – 72-year-old John Steele. A retiree based in Rakaia, Steele obtained the highest average safety score 88 out of 100 among GoCarma users that have driven over 10,000 kilometres.

“Since first obtaining my license when I was 16, I have tried to drive to the conditions and be observant of potential hazards,” Steele said. “I was very surprised but honoured to be named as GoCarma’s safest driver in their first year.”

Aside from his usual drives to Christchurch and Ashburton, Steel also hops in his car to visit his grandkids in North Canterbury. For being named GoCarma’s inaugural safest driver of the year, he has been refunded the remaining cost of his annual car insurance premium. His safe driving has also earned him several prizes this year, including two tickets to see the All Blacks in Auckland.

Since its launch, GoCarma has awarded safe drivers with over 200 excess discounts valued between $100 and $300, as well as Airpoints dollars and vouchers for My Auto Shop, Uber Eats and Chuffed, Tower said.

“We’re pleased Kiwis have been using GoCarma to be safer on the road. As we get ready for the holiday season, we want them to be mindful of distractions so they can arrive safely at their destination,” said Sally Gordon, Tower’s head of propositions.

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