Restricted licence test guide

Introduction to the restricted licence test

This section provides detailed information about the new Restricted Licence Test (RLT or the test) that came into effect on 27 February 2012. It will help professional driving instructors and coaches work with learner drivers as they approach the new RLT, but it should not take the place of a well-structured and comprehensive lesson plan, together with high levels of supervised driving experience in a broad range of driving situations.

In preparing for the test, the Transport Agency recommends that all novice drivers and their coaches become familiar with this test guide, the Road code and the Practice programme ( These resources contain all the necessary information to enable novice drivers to practice the necessary skills to become safe drivers and subsequently be ready to sit the test. Being a safe driver is the first goal and test readiness is the second.

The new restricted licence test

In 2010 the New Zealand Government announced a package of reforms focused on young drivers, including making the RLT more difficult to encourage 120 hours of supervised driving practice.

The new RLT is based on the Victorian Government probationary licence test and calibrated for New Zealand driving environments.

The new RLT was developed to assess the higher skill levels expected of today’s more experienced licence applicants. With a 45 minute drive time, it is longer than the previous test, which allows a more comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s safe driving skills. An applicant is more likely to have the necessary skills to pass the test if they have had at least 120 hours of supervised driving experience.

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Last updated: 26 February 2015