Time limit to get full licences

Learner and restricted drivers will no longer be able to put off their graduation to a full licence after the Government announced plans to set a five-year time limit.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said too many novice drivers were failing to show they were capable drivers and progress to a full licence.

" ... What these drivers need to do is demonstrate their skills and competence and graduate to a full licence in a reasonable time."

A third of learner drivers had held their licence for more than six years. More than half of restricted drivers had held their licence for three years, and 32 per cent had not progressed to their full after more than six years.

Mr Bridges said motorists who lingered on their learner or restricted licences were responsible for a large proportion of driving infringements, such as carrying unauthorised passengers, driving alone at night or failing to display "L" plates.

About 70 per cent of learner licence breaches were from drivers who had held their licence for more than two years.

"This level of offending indicates a lack of respect for the conditions of learner and restricted licences. It is important that these conditions are not seen as optional and we need to reinforce the message that compliance with licence conditions reduces risk."

The Ministry of Transport planned to introduce a five-year time limit on both licences. The ministry said this allowed enough time for drivers to improve their skills while not forcing drivers to apply for a new licence before they were ready.

After the five-year threshold, drivers will not only have to pay a renewal fee but will also have to do a driving theory test.

At present, all licences must be renewed after 10 years but there is no requirement to show driving competency or skills. The rule change would come into force within two years.

Slow to progress

70 per cent of learner licences held for more than 2 years

37 per cent of learner licences held for more than 6 years

56 per cent of restricted licences held for more than 3 years

32 per cent of restricted licences held for more than 6 years

 - by Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald

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