Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Reasons Rotorua driving tests cut short

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Nearly a third of those sitting restricted licence tests in the region had tests cut short for immediate failure errors and critical failure errors this year. Photo: File
Nearly a third of those sitting restricted licence tests in the region had tests cut short for immediate failure errors and critical failure errors this year. Photo: File

Nearly one in three people sitting restricted licence tests in the region don't get the chance to complete them.

NZTA figures show Bay of Plenty's termination rate for restricted licences was 32 per cent between January and September.

The figure refers to tests not completed due to an immediate failure error or the accumulation of several critical failure errors.

Immediate failure errors include collisions, failure to give way, excessive speed and failing to stop. Critical errors include going too slowly or too fast and failing to look or signal.

Rotorua driving instructor Jackson Te Pairi said failed drivers should be allowed to complete their tests in some cases so they'd know what might come up next time.

However, a test should be ended straight away if someone was driving dangerously, for example by speeding or failing to stop.

"When you're learning to drive, those are the things you learn pretty much straight away, stopping and not speeding and keeping to the speed limit," said Mr Te Pairi, from Jackson's Driver Training.

If someone went through one stop-sign, they were likely to go through another, he said.

"So it comes down to safety. Not only for the client, but for the testing officer as well."

If his students ran through stop-signs in lessons he would get them to pull over and talk about it.

Mr Te Pairi said people who had a test cut short sometimes came to him for extra lessons.

A common reason for failing was difficulty at give way signals. Sometimes drivers stopped for too long. It was also important not to pull out in front of other motorists.

According to the NZTA, the terminated rate for full licences in Bay of Plenty this year was one in five.

Last year nearly a quarter of restricted licence tests and 16 per cent of full licence tests were terminated.

In 2013, shortly after the restricted licence test was made more difficult, 37 per cent of Bay of Plenty people had their restricted tests terminated and 24 per cent had their full licence tests terminated.

NZTA said candidates could also fail a practical driving test by having it cancelled before driving started because they didn't have their licence with them, the vehicle wasn't roadworthy, or they weren't familiar with basic controls in the vehicle.

They could also be failed because of an accumulation of minor errors throughout the test.

NZTA national media manager Andy Knackstedt said pass rates for practical driving tests were also influenced by factors such as the road and traffic environment.

The most important determining factor for each person's likelihood of passing the test was how much that driver had practised and prepared for the test, said Mr Knackstedt.

The overall national pass rate for the more challenging restricted licence practical test had increased from 40 per cent, after its introduction in 2012, to more than 60 per cent currently.

"The Transport Agency's focus is on quality and consistency in testing, and therefore on ensuring safe drivers, not on pass rates," said Mr Knackstedt.

Nationwide, 35 per cent of restricted licence tests and 27 per cent of full licence tests were terminated between January and September this year.

The cost

Sitting a restricted licence has a $48.20 application fee - with another $86.60 for the test. A full licence has a $49.60 application fee, with $59.90 for the test.

If you have to re-sit, you pay another test fee but not another application fee.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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