09 January 2023

Common licence errors

Young drivers fail their restricted licence test when they make critical errors or an immediate fail error.

banner common licence errors

Since the restricted licence test was reviewed and made more challenging in 2012, young drivers have found it much harder to pass. In fact, the percentage of people who sat their test and failed has more than doubled. That works out at an average of 43% failing their restricted.

While that may sound like a bad thing, research by Waka Kotahi shows that young drivers are most at risk during their first year of driving solo. By upping the assessment standards, the new restricted test ensures young drivers have the necessary skills to stay safe when driving alone.

Young drivers fail their restricted when they make critical errors or an immediate fail error. Critical errors, while serious, don’t put the driver, another road user or property in immediate danger. But if the danger escalates, it becomes an immediate fail error.

VTNZ, who conduct driver licence testing, have shared the top 5 mistakes young drivers make during their restricted test. They include:

  1. Failure to give way to traffic.
  2. Travelling more than 10km/h over the speed limit.
  3. Failing to stop at a stop sign.
  4. No head check or mirror check when required.
  5. Travelling 5–9 km/h over the speed limit for more than 5 seconds.

The best way to avoid making these kinds of errors during a test is to avoid them during practise. Waka Kotahi encourages young drivers to complete at least 120 hours of supervised practise before going for their restricted. Those that complete 120 hours of practise have crash rate 40% lower than those who only complete 50 hours.

To support young drivers in levelling up their restricted skills, check out the resources in the Drive Community Toolkit. The Test Errors activity is particularly relevant here. Players learn what not to do in the driving tests as well as the differences between critical errors and immediate fails. They do this by identifying and organising test errors into categories as a team or as individuals. Once students can identify the possible errors, they can learn how to respond correctly with our tips.

Test Errors activity
Common test mistakes

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