More drivers passing test
The New Zealand Transport Agency says the latest results from the new restricted licence practical driver testing regime show that more learner drivers are getting the message that a higher level of preparation and practice is needed to pass the new tests.
After six months and more than 26,000 restricted licence practical tests conducted under the new regime, the overall pass rate has gradually risen to 46 per cent, up from 38 per cent after the first month of testing but still well below the pass rate of about 80 per cent under the old system.
Agency chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said while no targets had been set, a significant drop in pass rates had been expected when the new testing regime was rolled out on February 27.
‘‘ The new test is more challenging and a higher standard of driving is needed to pass. We expected that pass rates would drop pretty sharply when the new test was brought in but we also expected the pass rates would gradually increase over time, as the message filtered through to learner drivers and they began to put in the kind of preparation and practice needed to raise their skills to a higher level.’’
Mr Dangerfield said the new test had been designed to improve safety by encouraging learner drivers to clock up at least 120 hours of supervised practice before they sat the test. Research shows that young drivers who complete 120 hours of supervised practice on their learner licence have a solo-driving crash rate 40 per cent lower than those who only complete 50 hours.
‘‘We need to remember what this new test is all about – reducing needless deaths and injuries on our roads, improving the standards of learner drivers and encouraging them to take the time to develop their skills and build a solid and a safe foundation. We were doing learner drivers no favours with a ‘once over lightly’ approach.’’
Mr Dangerfield urged learner drivers and their families to take advantage of free resources available to help develop safe driving skills, including the NZTA/ ACC Practice programme ( practice. co. nz) which is specifically aimed at helping young drivers get 120 hours of supervised driving under their belts before sitting the restricted test, and safeteendriver.co.nz, where parents can find a wide range of tools and practical advice on how to help teenagers stay safe on our roads.
“Parents have a huge role to play in improving the safety of our young drivers, and these websites provide some great free tools to help them play an active role in teaching teens.
Further information about the new restricted driver licence test is available on the NZTA website at nzta.govt.nz.