Young driver fed up with failures

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014
heather
ANDY JACKSON/FAIRFAX NZ
Heather Fraser, 18, is upset that she has failed her restricted driver licence twice.

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Heather Fraser, 18, is angry and frustrated that she failed her driving test twice and still isn't sure why.

Fraser is on a learner licence and wants to get her restricted licence. To ensure she was successful, she had a driving lesson with an AA instructor.

He told her she didn't have to come to a complete stop at a give way sign but at a stop sign she needed to stop for three seconds.

When she went for her first test in New Plymouth she was failed for not stopping at a give way sign, she said.

But one incident during the test upset her so much she laid a complaint with the New Zealand Transport Agency.

"We come to the one way and he goes, turn right. I stopped and I looked and said Sir, it's a one way. He said, oh turn left. He didn't say sorry or anything."

The second time Fraser sat the test she was failed for waiting too long at an intersection.

"I was stopping at stop signs and going one, two, three. He said I couldn't stop for longer than five seconds, so in his head he was counting faster."

The instructor also told her she could change lanes on a solid white line, which is incorrect, she said.

"It's so inconsistent. I don't know what the heck I'm doing."

She drives a Toyota Corolla, which is not a boy racer car, she said. "I drive carefully. I don't have money for this. I tried to make sure I passed by doing the lesson."

Fraser is going to have another go but not in New Plymouth. "I'm over it."

The NZ Transport Agency's principal adviser for driver testing and standards, Jim Furneaux, said the agency encourages people to bring concerns relating to driving tests to its attention so that they can be properly investigated.

"We don't have a record of receiving a complaint from Heather in relation to this test but we are happy to speak with her directly about any concerns with the way in which it was conducted.

"We urge anyone with concerns about the fairness or consistency of any practical driving test to bring the specific details to us so that the circumstances of the individual test can be reviewed and any concerns can be fully investigated and responded to."

NZTA sent through a comment on Fraser's first test, saying she failed because she went through the give way sign at 50km. It didn't have details for her second test.

In the year from July 2013 to June this year 1676 restricted licence tests were sat in New Plymouth and NZTA received 21 complaints relating to the tests.

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The pass rate for 16 to 19-year-olds sitting restricted licence tests in New Plymouth over the same time was 51 per cent. The overall pass rate for all drivers of all ages sitting the restricted licence test in New Zealand during this 12 month period was 53 per cent.

- Taranaki Daily News

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