Driver fails VTNZ full licence test on the spot due to 'dirty' front seat
A Hamilton woman was left in tears after failing a full driver’s licence test as soon as the testing officer opened her passenger door.
Letticia Pevy, 38, has held her restricted licence for the past 16 years but work requirements meant she needed to have her full licence.
The mother of five had prepared. She even went through a practice test with the AA on the Monday before sitting the test on Wednesday, August 26, at VTNZ Frankton.
Yet the testing officer failed her on the spot. The reason? A dirty front seat in her black Mazda multi-purpose-vehicle. The licence officer cited it as a Covid-19 risk.
“I said, if it’s because of Covid, I actually have a thing on my phone to say I have had a test recently and it’s negative,” Pevy told Stuff. “There’s no way I pose a risk to you or my car. I have masks and sanitisers, is there anything I can get that you can sit on?”
The reply was no. He sent her the mandatory fail email, which didn’t give an explanation, just that she had not passed due to health and safety.
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The testing officer was not wearing any PPE himself.
Pevy said she was aware that a clean and tidy passenger seat for the testing officer was a pre-test requirement and thought she had done a good enough job.
“I have five kids and a dog – I admit it’s never going to be immaculate, but I thought it was clean enough. Nothing was going to come off on their clothes.”
Pevy feels she is a confident driver when judged on performance alone. Now she’s had a whole other level of being judged, and she took it personally.
“To be told your car is a health and safety hazard, I don’t think I’ve ever been in my adult life so mortified and embarrassed. I ended up crying in my car for 45 minutes.
“I was a nervous wreck a couple of nights beforehand. I had a couple of those dreams, so what if, thoughts. I actually think I had gone through every single possible scenario; having a messy vehicle didn’t even occur to me.”
It cost Pevy $109.50 for the test, which was prepaid. Initially, VTNZ would not refund or rebook her test.
Her husband, Chris, rang the depot on the Wednesday afternoon and spoke with the manager, who told him they would investigate.
He had not heard from them six days later and even suggested they were avoiding his calls.
Stuff requested an interview with VTNZ on Wednesday at 11.04am and by 1.50pm VTNZ had contacted Pevy, apologised and had given her a free resit.
VTNZ wouldn’t conduct an interview with Stuff, but offered an email statement from operations support manager James Law, who said as the appointed service provider for Waka Kotahi, New Zealand Transport Agency, their main priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all their customers and team members.
“As we continue to move through different Covid-19 alert levels we are following strict health and safety procedures while conducting driver tests.
“We regularly update procedures in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines.”
While Pevy sat her test on August 26, Law said from August 31, all driver testing officers are required to wear masks when conducting driving tests or interacting with customers where social distancing is not possible.
VTNZ was asked why Pevy was not allowed to remedy the problem and resit the test; how a seat is judged to be dirty or a health and safety issue; and whether there were any consequences for the tester.
In response, Law referred to the pre-test check that driver testing officers are required to complete.
VTNZ has now offered Pevy the opportunity to resit her test at VTNZ in Te Awamutu at no charge.
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