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New Zealand’s graduated driver licensing system has three stages – learner, restricted and full. Before your teen even turns a wheel, learner drivers must have applied for and received their learner licence. An application for a learner licence may be made at any NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) driver licensing agent. These are selected branches of:
To obtain a learner licence applicants must:
The learner licence theory test consists of 35 questions which are randomly generated from a pool of over 350 official test questions. The pass mark is approximately 93%. Free practice tests may be viewed at www.drivingtests.co.nz.
The first time behind the wheel of a car can be exciting – and daunting. Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility. For your the safety of the learner driver, and other road users, learners:
A supervisor is not required is learning to ride a moped. However, L plates are still required and the moped may not be driven between the hours of 10pm and 5am.
Because of the dangers involved in gaining the necessary experience, it is strongly recommended that instruction from a skilled and experienced driver is obtained. Practising driving in a variety of situations and on different types of roads is also highly recommended.
Once a learner licence has been held for at least six months, a restricted licence may be applied for. To obtain a restricted licence applicants must:
The restricted licence practical driving test is designed to assess whether your skills as a driver are at a level where you can safely drive without a supervisor under certain conditions.
Before applicants take the restricted driving test they should:
The test is conducted in a vehicle provided by the applicant. The car must have a current warrant of fitness, car registration, and working brake and indicator lights. It must also have L plates on display.
The test will take about 60 minutes. This time allows for vehicle checks before the test, the driving test itself and time for the testing officer to give feedback.
Note: if the test is passed in a vehicle with automatic transmission, the restricted licence will have an ‘automatic vehicles only’ condition, meaning manual vehicles are not to be driven unless accompanied by a supervisor.
The highest crash risk period for all drivers is the first six months after gaining a restricted licence – a restricted licence driver is 4 times more likely to have an accident. Every restricted licence driver is at risk because of a combination of inexperience and high-risk situations – not just the “hoons”.
Crash risk is highest for any new driver when driving:
The conditions imposed on restricted licence drivers are designed to help reduce the risks. The conditions are:
There is a zero alcohol limit if you are under 20. One alcoholic drink can result in charges of drink driving.
To obtain a full licence the applicant must:
The driving part of the full licence test will take about 20 minutes. The test is designed to measure the applicant’s ability to operate the controls of the vehicle and drive safely on the road in traffic.
Once a full licence has been obtained, either an automatic or manual vehicle may be driven regardless of the type of vehicle the test was sat in.