Restricted licence practical driving test (class 1 – car)

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's designed to assess whether your skills are at a level where you can safely drive without a supervisor under certain conditions. You must provide the vehicle for the test.

If you pass the test in a vehicle with automatic transmission, your restricted licence will have an ‘automatic vehicles only’ condition. You'll only be allowed to drive automatic vehicles unless you're accompanied by a supervisor.

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

Restricted licence conditions

What does the restricted licence practical driving test involve?

You'll need to perform a number of 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'll also be assessed on:

  • observation
  • signalling
  • gap selection
  • speed choice
  • following distance
  • lateral position
  • parking movement
  • turning movement.

During the test you could incur a critical error for:

  • driving too slow or too fast
  • not looking before performing a manoeuvre
  • not signalling
  • mounting the kerb
  • stalling the vehicle
  • not coming 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 immediately fail the test?

You'll fail the test (the test will be terminated) if you:

  • are involved in a crash you're wholly or partly responsible for
  • are provided any verbal or physical assistance by the testing officer or support person during the test
  • can't carry out the testing officer's instructions because of lack of driving ability
  • go over the speed limit
  • don't give way
  • don't comply with traffic signals or stop signs
  • stop in a dangerous position
  • take any other dangerous action that results in immediate danger to road users or property.

What are the most common reasons for failing a restricted practical test?

Some of the most common reasons for failing a restricted practical test are:

  • going over the speed limit
  • not giving way
  • not indicating correctly when entering or leaving a roundabout
  • not indicating correctly when changing lanes
  • not identifying all hazards (including those approaching from behind)
  • not turning your head to check your blind spot before changing lanes
  • not turning into the correct lane at multi-lane intersections.

What happens at the end of the test?

At the end, the testing officer will tell you whether or not you've passed the test. They'll also go over any errors you made so you can practise them.

If you pass the test, you'll have earned your restricted licence. 

The testing officer will keep your learner licence and give you a temporary restricted licence. This temporary licence is valid for 21 days and you must carry it with you when you drive. You'll get your restricted photo driver licence in the mail. If you don’t get your new photo driver licence within 10 working days, call us on 0800 822 422.

If you fail the test, the testing officer will give your learner licence back. If you don't agree with the test result there are steps you can take. 

Conditions of a restricted licence

Steps you can take for contesting practical test results

More information

Restricted licence test guide

Practical tests

The official New Zealand road code