Full licence test guide

Introduction to the full licence test

This section provides detailed information about the new Full Licence Test (FLT or the test) that came into effect on 27 February 2012. It is designed to inform drivers who have passed their restricted licence, about the requirements of the new FLT.

The new restricted and full licence tests

In 2010 the New Zealand Government announced a package of reforms focused on young drivers, including making the Restricted Licence Test (RLT) more difficult to encourage 120 hours of supervised driving practice. The new RLT was developed with a 45-minute drive time, to assess the higher skill levels expected of today’s more experienced licence applicants.

Because of the longer RLT where a comprehensive assessment of safe driving skills is made, the Full Licence Test (FLT) is shorter than before; it is now only 30 minutes. In the FLT applicants have to demonstrate higher order skills in hazard detection and response while at the same time maintaining safe driving behaviours across a wide range of traffic situations and road conditions, to the high standard required for the awarding of a full licence.

Test routes

The test is undertaken on test routes that have been developed according to a set of standard requirements. This ensures that all test routes used are of a nationally consistent standard.

Test duration

The test takes a total of 30 minutes to administer. This time allows for:

  • meeting the applicant
  • conducting the pre-drive vehicle safety check
  • conducting a 20 minute practical drive
  • adding up the test score sheet at the end of each stage
  • providing feedback to the applicant on their performance at the end of the test.

Test route stages

The test is conducted in one stage and, as far as possible, is conducted in speed zones between 50-80km/h.

During the test, the applicant is directed to drive around a fixed test route and asked to perform specific driving tasks (such as turns or lane changes) at various locations, while at the same time verbally describing the hazards and their driving responses to those hazards. The Testing Officer (TO) uses a set of specific assessment items to assess how well the applicant performs each task.

To pass the FLT, an applicant must demonstrate safe decision-making, observance of road rules, a high standard of car-handling skills and ability to identify and apply the correct driving response to any hazards encountered.

Driving tasks

There are two types of driving tasks in the RLT:

  • Assessable tasks include left and right turns, lane changes (or turning right across traffic where lane changes are not available) and right at a roundabout. The applicant’s performance on each assessable task is assessed according to predetermined task assessment items.
  • Linking manoeuvres join up the assessable tasks into a complete driving route that begins and ends at the car park of the testing office or other suitable location for the start. Linking manoeuvres include similar driving manoeuvres to the assessable tasks but do not have associated task assessment items assigned to them.

There are eight assessable tasks in the FLT, which are described in the Assessable driving tasks section.

Hazard perception

During each of the eight assessable driving tasks in the FLT, the applicant is also required to verbally describe (in a few simple words) as they undertake each assessable task:

  • the hazards, and
  • their actions in response to those hazards.

Assessment items

During the test the applicant will be assessed against three different assessment criteria:

  • Task assessment items - assess one aspect of driving performance during the execution of each assessable task at a specific location on the test route. The task assessment items are described in the Task assessment items section.
  • Critical errors - are recorded at any time they occur during the FLT, whether during an assessable task or not. The critical error types are described in the Critical errors section.
  • Immediate failure errors - also recorded at any time they occur and result in the immediate failure of the test. The immediate failure error types are described in the Immediate failure errors section.

Note that this guide does not cover the number of driving faults that are permitted during the test as the pre-test preparation should not be focused around how many driving faults may be made during the test, but rather whether the novice driver has the necessary skills to be a safe driver (ie they can consistently perform the driving tasks to the required standard).

If the novice driver is making any critical errors or immediate failure errors in training then they are clearly not yet ready to attempt this test.

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Last updated: 27 February 2015