Cut-off proposed if driver does not progress

A time limit on holding a learner or restricted driver's licence is being considered among proposed changes to licensing rules.

The change would mean that for the first time novice drivers must graduate to the next licence stage within five years.

Drivers who do not progress within the time limit would need to resit their theory or practical test.

Transport Agency road safety director Ernst Zollner said the proposed limit aimed to encourage novice drivers and motorcyclists to progress within a reasonable time.

"The restrictions that apply to learner and restricted licences are there to ensure that novice drivers gain experience and skills under low-risk conditions," he said.

"Drivers who stay at one licence stage indefinitely aren't demonstrating that they've gained the skills and competence to drive safely, and many offences for breaching licence conditions are committed by drivers who have held a learner or restricted licence for an extended time."

Other changes proposed include strengthening evidence of identity requirements, and allowing some licence transactions to be done online or at kiosks. All first applications would still need to be made in person.

Recent changes include raising the minimum licensing age from 15 to 16, a zero alcohol limit for under-20s, and harder practical tests for restricted and full licences.

Champion motorsport driver Greg Murphy has spoken out about the need for changes to licensing, and called for compulsory professional training for all drivers.

He told the Herald drivers' level of skill was "just terrible".

- APNZ

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