Number of foreigners factor in driver licence test failures

Queenstown's cosmopolitan mix is thought to be behind the high failure rate for people sitting the tougher restricted driving test, with candidates in the resort achieving only half the national average pass rate.

Queenstown's rate at November 23 was 23%, compared with Alexandra's 58% and the national average of 46%, according to figures supplied by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). The agency said the new restricted test, introduced in February, required a higher standard of driving to pass.

The number of people who had taken the test in Queenstown to November 23 was 176 and in Alexandra 159. Testing in Queenstown started two weeks after Alexandra, NZTA principal adviser driver training and testing Jim Furneaux said.

Mr Furneaux said it was important to remember statistics could change week by week.

However, the resort's high proportion of people from other countries could be a factor in the failure rate, he said.

"There seems to be a higher percentage of overseas candidates in the Queenstown area compared to many other areas of the country.

"Many of these drivers struggle with parallel parking, often hitting or mounting the kerb, and their test failures would appear to indicate that they have insufficient driving experience in New Zealand."

The low pass rate in Queenstown was not a concern, Mr Furneaux said, as someone could fail in Queenstown but sit the test again in Alexandra if there were no testing spaces available in the resort.

"You can make all sorts of assumptions and you can be entirely wrong," Mr Furneaux said when asked if Queenstown licensing officers were stricter.

When asked if the Queenstown failure rate was higher than the national average under the old test, he said the two tests were not comparable.

He emphasised the need for preparation and warned: "If you are coming from overseas you cannot rely on your overseas driving experience."


Driver faults
The top reasons for people failing their restricted licence in Queenstown since February. -

• Not signalling, especially at roundabouts and when parallel parking.

• Excessive speed.

• Failing to keep left.

• Exceeding 30kmh limit through road works.

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