Hackathon winner looks to improving restricted licence drivers

The winner of the NZ Transport Agency’s first ever Hackathon hopes to improve young drivers driving skills

A concept to improve the driving skills of 15 to 19 year olds has won the NZ Transport Agency’s first ever Hackathon, where 12 groups gathered to develop and pitch technological concepts for making New Zealand roads safer.


In the friendly competition against other industry stakeholders, the winning team proposed an app called ‘License Me’ that would track driver progress, focussing on speed control, braking, acceleration, and cornering.

The reward for young drivers would be to learn good driving skills and reduce their time on a restricted licence from 18 to 12 months. NZ Transport Agency Director of Safety and Environment Harry Wilson led the panel of judges and said they were looking for the concept that would make the biggest difference, was easy to do, and was technically feasible.

Licence Me said restricted drivers represent only 4.6% of the driving population but were involved in 14% of fatal and serious injury crashes, estimating their concept could save 55 young lives a year. The Transport Agency will work with the Licence Me team to develop their concept into a marketable proposition.

Second place went to the Safe Sense team for a concept involving the placement of laser sensors and cameras at corners to warn drivers of vehicles crossing the centreline. Safe Sense told the judges that 50% of crashes occur on corners.

Third place went to the Crash Test Dummies team for a phone app concept that would show drivers in real time how fast they were travelling on a particular road and if they were going faster than the average speed of other road users, warning them to slow down. The next Hackathon is planned for September.

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