Drivers on a restricted licence are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash than other drivers. Data also shows that young restricted drivers are more at risk of having a serious crash in the first six to 12 months of driving solo on their restricted licence than at any other time in their lives. This increased risk is partly due to driving inexperience.
In 2016, young drivers 16-24 were involved in 85 fatal crashes, 658 serious injury crashes and 2638 minor injury crashes.
The risk of crashing diminishes with experience and the development of decision-making skills to recognise risky situations and make safe choices.
Two of the riskiest situations for young drivers are driving at night and carrying passengers. That's why the conditions of the restricted licence prohibit driving without a supervisor between 10pm and 5am and carrying passengers without a supervisor at any time (with a few exceptions).
Gaining driving experience in a range of conditions and situations is really important. The best time for a young driver to do that is with an experienced supervisor beside them to provide advice and guidance. The Drive programme is a free practical driving programme created jointly by NZ Transport Agency and ACC to help drivers pass the restricted test (external link) .
Learner drivers need supervision while they practise their driving, but getting a driving instructor involved can help reduce the stress levels for everyone. It's also a good idea to take a lesson every so often as the learner driver builds experience to help spot any bad habits and get advice on what to work on as they get ready to sit the restricted licence test. Also check out the Drive website which offers lesson plans (external link) covering the skills your driver will need to pass their restricted test.
To find a qualified driving instructor, use a search engine such as Google or Bing (e.g. search ‘qualified driving instructor Wellington’).
The restricted licence test requires a high standard of driving. If you fail, you'll have to pay another fee to sit it again.
Are you confident:
performing a reverse parallel park or three point turn – you need to be able to complete the parallel park within two minutes and in no more than four movements, forward and back)
changing lanes safely at high speed (70km/h or greater) – this includes signalling correctly and performing mirror and shoulder checks
turning right crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic – this includes choosing a safe gap in traffic and positioning the car correctly.
If you can't do these things, then you're not ready to sit the test. If you can, you should also check out the other things you need to be able to do by looking at the restricted licence test information (external link) on the Drive website or the restricted test guide [PDF, 876 KB].
The riskiest time for any new driver is the first 6–12 months of solo driving.