About the practical driving tests

The restricted licence practical driving test

What is the restricted licence practical driving test?

The restricted licence practical driving test is the test that learner licence holders must pass to graduate to a restricted licence. It is designed to assess whether the skills of the driver are at a level where they can safely drive without a supervisor under certain conditions (see About driver licences for the conditions of a restricted licence).

The test is conducted in a vehicle provided by you.

Note: if you pass the test in a vehicle with automatic transmission, your restricted licence will have an ‘automatic vehicles only' condition, meaning you will only be allowed to drive automatic vehicles unless you are accompanied by a supervisor.

The restricted licence practical driving test will take about 60 minutes. This time allows for vehicle checks before the test, the driving test itself and time for the testing officer to give you feedback on your performance after the test.

When can I apply to sit the restricted licence practical driving test?

You can apply for a restricted licence when you have held your learner licence for at least six months.

You should also:

  • have had lots of driving practice (we recommend that you have at least 120 hours of driving experience)
  • be a skilled and confident driver.

How should I prepare for the restricted licence practical driving test?

Because of the dangers involved in gaining the experience necessary to pass the restricted licence test, it is strongly recommended that you get instruction from a skilled and experienced driver, and practise driving in a variety of situations and on different types of roads.

You should also make sure that you know all the road rules in the Road code and can apply them in everyday situations.

You can find out more about the practical driving test by visiting our website at Changes to the driver licence tests.

What does the restricted licence practical driving test involve?

You can find out more about the practical driver test by visiting our website at www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/photo/new-tests.html.

You will be asked to perform a number of assessable tasks including:

  • Left and right turns at intersections.
  • Left and right lane changes.
  • Parallel parking.
  • Three point turn.
  • Merging.
  • Straight line driving (two lanes and multiple lanes).
  • Entering and exiting roundabouts.

When completing each task you will also be assessed on the following:

  • Observation.
  • Signalling.
  • Gap selection.
  • Speed choice.
  • Following distance.
  • Lateral position.
  • Parking movement.
  • Turning movement.

During the test you could incur a critical error for following:

  • Driving too slow or too fast.
  • Failing to look before performing a manoeuvre.
  • Failing to signal.
  • Mounting the kerb.
  • Stalling the vehicle.
  • Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
  • Blocking a pedestrian crossing.
  • Any other illegal action eg
    • Following too close
    • Failing to give way to pedestrians at a pedestrian crossing
  • Driving over part of a roundabout.

What could cause me to fail the test?

You will fail the test, with the test being terminated, if you:

  • drive recklessly, dangerously or inconsiderately
  • are involved in a crash for which you are wholly or partly responsible
  • are unable to carry out the instructions given by the testing officer because of lack of driving ability
  • exceed the speed limit
  • fail to comply with give way rules or Give Way signs
  • fail to comply with traffic signals or Stop signs.

What happens at the end of the test?

At the end of the test, the testing officer will tell you whether or not you have passed the test. They will also go over any errors you made.

If you pass the test, you will have earned your restricted licence. This means you will be able to drive on your own with certain conditions. See About driver licences for the conditions of a restricted licence.

If you pass the test, the testing officer will keep your learner licence and give you an interim restricted licence. This temporary licence is valid for 21 days and must be carried with you when you drive. Your restricted photo driver licence will be mailed to you.

If you fail the test, the testing officer will return your learner licence to you.

< previous | next >

Last updated: 6 June 2013