Railway tracks and other motorists are among factors contributing to the fail rates of drivers going for their restricted licences for the first time in Tauranga.

New figures show almost half of learner drivers who sat their restricted license test at the Tauranga AA last year failed as did about a third of those who sat the test at VTNZ Mount Maunganui.

As of this year AA Tauranga stopped providing driving tests so they can now only be done through VTNZ in Mount Maunganui.

Tauranga AA driving instructor Danny Spence said due to the tests now being located only at Mount Maunganui, common causes for critical errors were the railway crossroads, incorrect use of the bus lanes and nerves.


"The specific characteristics of the Mount most frequently is checking both ways at the railway lines," he said.

The bus and bike lanes also proved an issue for those taking the test, he said.

Despite the higher fail rate of first time restricted drivers in Tauranga, he predicted "a better generation of drivers" to be coming through.

"In the statistics we're seeing a change in the demographics."

He put it down to the increase in students taking driving lessons and taking defensive driving courses which had led to improved general driving abilities.

It was people aged in their 40s and 50s who were the "worst" demographic, Mr Spence said.

Experienced drivers also made it hard for those who were sitting their tests.

"What I find from doing lessons, and I've sat in about 14 to 15 tests, a lot of students are caught out by other drivers either over indicating or not indicating through round-abouts."

He found one of the worst driving habits of Tauranga drivers was not knowing how to correctly indicate when confronted with round-abouts, or not bothering to indicate at all.

NZ Transport Agency's national manager Robyn Elston said there were several factors which influenced pass rates, which included the individuals preparedness for the test.

"The most important determining factor for each individual driver's likelihood of passing the test is how much that driver has practised and prepared for the test."

She said the national pass rate for the "more challenging" restricted license practical test had increased from 40 per cent, after its introduction in 2012, to more than 60 per cent.

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

VTNZ pointed the Bay of Plenty Times to their website when asked for comment.

Restricted licence fail rates

AA Tauranga

2015 - 46 per cent

2014 - 49 per cent

VTNZ Mount Maunganui

2015 - 33 per cent

2014 - 36 per cent

Full licence fail rates for 2015

AA Tauranga - 32 per cent

VTNZ Mount Maunganui - 29 per cent

For more information of common mistakes, go to:

Don't know what to do at roundabouts? Go to: www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resources/know-your-way-around-roundabouts/docs/know-your-way-around-roundabouts.pdf