Driving test pass rates drop

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 08:35 24/04/2014

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The Wellingtonian

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More than half of young drivers are failing the new driver licence tests two years after they were introduced.

However, NZ Transport Agency believes the new tests are making the roads safer.

On February 27, 2012, the agency changed the practical restricted and full licence tests.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show that before the test was changed, pass rates for both tests were about 75 per cent.

Two years on, the pass rate is 43 per cent for restricted tests and 58 for the full licence.

Agency spokeswoman Kate Styles said the tests were achieving the agency's aim of safer drivers, and that pass rates were gradually improving.

"This indicates that applicants are putting in more preparation and practice to prepare for the test," she said.

With the changes, the restricted licence test was lengthened to 60 minutes, including 45 minutes of driving.

It was also split into two stages.

The first, in a lower speed zone, measures the driver's basic skills.

The second is more complicated.

Drivers who do not pass the first stage are not able to continue.

The full licence testing time was reduced to 30 minutes, including 20 minutes of driving time.

The driver needs to independently drive around a short route, identifying hazards along the way.

The tests were developed using the Australian VicRoads driving test and adapted to New Zealand conditions.

According to NZ Transport Agency figures, the best place in the Wellington region to sit restricted and full licence tests is Porirua, with 57 and 67 per cent pass rates respectively.

The worst is Lower Hutt, with 43 and 58 per cent.

The Kilbirnie Driving Testing Centre sits in the middle of the two, 49 per cent for restricted and 65 per cent for full licence tests.

HOW NOT TO FAIL A DRIVING TEST NZ

Transport Agency provides guides for both practical tests. It sets out the dos and don'ts of getting a licence, including immediate failure errors and critical errors that can lead to failure.

Immediate failure errors: Failing to follow instructions, testing officer intervention, collision (including with the kerb or a roundabout), failing to give way, speeding, dangerous driving.

Critical errors: Driving 10kmh over or under the speed limit, failing to signal, stalling, blocking a pedestrian crossing, failing to look.

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- The Wellingtonian

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