Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Driving test officer attacked after failing learner motorist

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

An enraged learner driver allegedly punched the test officer who failed him on his test at an Auckland testing centre.

The officer was attacked by an applicant who had failed a practical driving test at the Meadowlands office on Monday, said Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt.

The testing officer was completing paperwork after the test when the applicant entered the office and struck the testing officer, Mr Knackstedt said. The police had been alerted.

Driver Licensing (NZDL) and NZTA were supporting the testing officer and were concerned by the incident, he said.

"While we understand that driving tests can be stressful and that failing a test is disappointing, there is never any excuse for threats or physical violence directed towards testing officers or others carrying out their duties.

"NZDL and the Transport Agency will investigate any concerns or disputes about the outcome of a test through an established complaints investigation process."

Mark Chapman, the general manager of the PassRite driving school - which was not involved in the incident - said learner drivers got frustrated from time to time, which is why it was crucial to have well-trained driving instructors who were suited to the job.

"A lot of it comes down to how the individual is handled at the time ... taking time and walking away and recognising there is an issue," he said.

"Being an instructor is a lot like being a school teacher and you've got to have the ability to not only teach people, but you've got to have the ability to coach and mentor."

Mr Chapman said while he supported the new, more difficult, driver licence tests, the cost of the tests was too high.

There were 15 reported incidents of verbal or physical abuse on driving test officers in the year to October 2013 and 16 others in 2012.

Costs adding up

• $96.10 for a learner's licence test
• $137 for a restricted licence test
• $111.70 a full licence test

If you need to re-sit the exam the cost is:

• $47.40 for learner's
• $88.30 for restricted licence
• $61.70 for full licence.

- NZ Herald

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