Restricted licence test guide

Overview of the structure of the restricted licence test

Test duration

The test takes a total of one hour to administer. This time allows for:

  • meeting the applicant
  • conducting the pre-drive vehicle safety check
  • conducting a 45 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 comprises two stages.

  • Stage 1 of the test takes 10 minutes and is a set of relatively simple driving tasks conducted in a less complex traffic environment designed to assess the applicant’s driving ability. This stage is conducted in speed zones of up to 60km/h and determines whether the applicant is a sufficiently skilled and safe driver to proceed to the more challenging driving tasks and environments of Stage 2 of the test.

    An applicant who does not achieve a satisfactory score in Stage 1 is not permitted to undertake Stage 2 of the test. In this way, applicants who are not ready to tackle the more challenging tasks in Stage 2 are screened out before they can pose a danger to themselves and other road users.
  • Stage 2 of the test takes 35 minutes and is designed to assess the applicant’s ability to perform more challenging tasks in moderately challenging environments within speed zones of 60km/h and over.

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), merging with other traffic, straight drives, straight or right at a roundabout and a reverse parallel park. 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 seven assessable tasks in Stage 1 and 18 assessable tasks in Stage 2.

The assessable tasks used in the RLT are described in Assessable tasks section.

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. The task assessment items are described in section 5.
  • Critical errors which are recorded at any time they occur during the RLT, whether during an assessable task or not. The critical error types are described in section 6.
  • Immediate failure errors are also recorded at any time they occur and result in the immediate failure of the test. The immediate failure error types are described in section 7.

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.

Pre-drive checks

Before beginning the RLT, the testing officer will:

  • check the candidate’s identity
  • conduct a pre-drive safety check
  • conduct an in-vehicle safety check.


Prior to commencing the test the testing officer will:

  • sight the applicant’s learner licence to ensure it is current and to confirm their identity
  • check the vehicle to be used in the test for:
    • a current warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness label
    • two learner licence plates (L plates) displayed correctly
    • a current vehicle licence (registration) label
    • a current road user charges (RUC) label if it is a diesel vehicle
    • sufficient fuel to complete the test.

If any of these requirements cannot be met, the test will be cancelled.

Vehicle roadworthiness and controls

The vehicle to be used for the test must comply with the legal provisions that govern its use on the road. While testing officers do not examine the vehicle in detail, they will check the items listed below to ensure that all safety items are in a roadworthy state. Applicants will be requested to assist with the pre-drive check.

If the vehicle is not roadworthy, the test will not proceed.

Item Description
Vehicle posture
(car only)
The vehicle is sitting square to the road, indicating all tyres
have equal or close to equal pressure.
Body work The vehicle has no obvious damage that could be considered dangerous.
Tyres and wheels Tyres should have the required tread depth and no uneven wear, and wheels should appear undamaged (visual inspection only). Winter and summer tyres are not mixed. The test cannot proceed if a space-saver tyre is fitted to the vehicle.
Indicators and brake lights Indicators and brake lights (to meet equipment requirements) operate correctly and all lenses are intact.
Head lights Lenses must be intact and high and low beams operate if the test is to take place in low light conditions.
Windscreen wipers Wipers must operate satisfactorily if the test is to take place in rain or fog.
Horn The horn must operate.
Driver/rider safety Mirrors are checked for position and seatbelts are in safe and serviceable condition.

Vehicle roadworthiness and controls

The testing officer will check the applicant is able to identify where the following controls are located in the vehicle:

  • handbrake
  • windscreen demister
  • rear window demister (where fitted).

If the applicant is unable to identify the items above they will be pointed out to them and the applicant will still be able to undertake the test. However if it becomes necessary to use one of the controls during the test and the applicant requires assistance to operate the control, an immediate failure error would result.

The pre-drive safety check and in-vehicle check do not contribute to the applicant’s test score.

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Last updated: 26 February 2015