Bad habits cause full driving licence fail

TOUGH TEST: Of the 742 restricted tests sat at AA Westgate in August, only 311 people passed (42 per cent).
TOUGH TEST: Of the 742 restricted tests sat at AA Westgate in August, only 311 people passed (42 per cent).

"There is no good news. You failed."

Those were the words that reduced a woman to tears after sitting her full licence test, despite driving for the past 14 years on a restricted licence.

Arriving at Auckland's AA Westgate testing centre on August 15 to sit the practical full license test, the 33-year-old was confident she was going to pass. She was surprised when she didn't.

"[The assessor] asked me, 'do you want the good news or the bad news?'

"I was shocked, really shocked. I burst into tears."

The NZ Transport Agency sets the standard for all driving tests and introduced new class 1 (car) restricted and full driver licence tests on February 27, 2012.

Since then, more than 18,000 restricted licence tests have been sat at AA Westgate with a pass rate of just 43 per cent.

In August 2014, more than 740 people sat their restricted licence test at the same location and only 42 per cent passed.

However, Westgate does not have the highest fail rate in Auckland. For the same month, AA Penrose and VTNZ in Pukekohe recorded lower pass rates for the same licence, 38 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

The driver says she was not asked by the testing officer to identify any hazards while on the 30-minute test and she eventually failed for making errors, including cutting a corner and failing to keep left of the centre line. While the woman says the exam was fair, she thinks the testing officer was strict in his marking.

"He said, ‘you're a really good driver but you have bad habits'," she said.

"I have never been pulled over by a cop and never had an accident but they don't take that into consideration."

NZTA principal adviser for driver testing and training standards Jim Furneaux says no more than two critical errors can be made during the entire test and there must be no immediate fail errors at any stage.

"Some of the most common issues noted are failing to signal, failing to stop or give way and exceeding the speed limit - all relatively easily fixed when you think about it," he said.

"Unfortunately the reasons for some of the test failures shows that there are still a few who are not properly prepared but hope to scrape through.

"However, the overall driving standard of those passing is far better than was previously the case with the old tests," Furneaux said.

Western Leader