Despite complaints from frustrated learner drivers,
authorities say more than half pass their practical test on
the first try.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said nearly 60 per
cent pass the restricted test on the first attempt, and
overall the pass rate is more than 50 per cent.
NZTA said the pass rate for teenage drivers was higher than
the overall average, at more than 60 per cent.
Nearly 150 parents and novice drivers have contacted APNZ
today in response to a story about a testing officer being
punched after failing a learner driver at
Meadowlands AA in Auckland on Monday. Many were frustrated at
failing the test multiple times.
NZTA spokesman Andrew Knacktstead said the more challenging
restricted test was introduced in February 2012 to improve
safety of young and novice drivers.
"Road crashes are the single biggest killer of teenagers in
New Zealand, and with an average of one teenager killed on
New Zealand roads every week in recent years our teen crash
rates are among the worst in the developed world,'' he said.
"That's a situation no-one should accept, and New Zealanders
are looking for decisive action to reduce this needless waste
of young life and young potential.''
Young drivers on a learner licence were encouraged to put in
plenty of hours of supervised driving and take advantage of
free online resources before sitting the tougher practical
One parent said his 18-year-old broke down in tears after
failing her restricted driving test for the fifth time.
Glenn Mclaughlin spent $670 on drivers licence tests for his
18-year-old daughter Dana, and has three other teenagers who
could be in for a similarly costly experience.
Mr Mclaughlin said Dana has been driving vehicles through
paddocks since she started school, and he had never doubted
her capabilities behind the wheel.
He sat in on two of the driving tests to see for himself why
she was failing.
"On the morning of her last test there were four other people
sitting their tests; two who were teenagers and two who were
older. All of them failed.''
Mr Mclaughlin said he approached the testing officer and
asked whether he was simply revenue collecting, to which he
replied that Mr Mclaughlin should take it up with a manager.
"It is so, so hard. Every single time it's a different
reason. If they'd said at the first instance 'here's the
reason you failed' then we could take it away and practice.''
Mr Mclaughlin said the result of failing so many learner
drivers is more illegal motorists on the roads.
He said he knew of many young motorists driving on learner
licences from rural parts of Auckland into the city for work
because there was no alternative and the tests seemed
impossible to pass.
An Auckland mother who didn't want to be named said her son
had been failed four times at Meadowlands AA. She estimated
the cost of the tests and the time taken off work at $1000.
Another motorist had to sit the test four times.
"The thing that struck me was the lack of consistency and
oversight between assessors, locations etc.
"I believe the management of license testing process by
various third party private companies leads to
inconsistencies in driver capabilities.
"I think that driving should form part of the NCEA curriculum
and should be taught as part of school as a standardised,
For help with preparing for the driving test, see free
resources at: www.practice.co.nz. Resources for
parents are available at www.safeteendriver.co.nz.
- By Sophie Ryan of APNZ