Five year limit on learner and restricted licenses

January 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sam Boyer at Dom Post reports:

A time limit restricting novice drivers from holding their learner and restricted licences for too long is set to be introduced.

The Government plans to change the law by 2015 so that learner and restricted drivers will be obliged to gain their full licence within five years, or be forced to resit tests, Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced yesterday.

At present, drivers can remain on their learner or restricted licences indefinitely, having to update their licence card only once a decade.

Currently, 37 per cent of learner drivers have held their licences for more than six years, as well as 32 per cent of restricted drivers. Three drivers in the country have held their learner licences for 25 years or more.

“The Government intends to limit learner and restricted licence periods to five years to encourage drivers to move through the . . . system,” Mr Bridges said.

“The [system] never intended drivers to stay on a learner or restricted licence indefinitely. What these drivers need to do is demonstrate their skills and competence and graduate to a full licence in a reasonable time.”

Seems reasonable to me. You don’t want people staying on a learner license for ever.

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28 Responses to “Five year limit on learner and restricted licenses”

  1. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    You don’t want people staying on a learner license for ever.

    Why not? It is a big who cares. It is not as though holding a drivers license makes you a better or worse driver all it means is you have passed the test(s) once upon a time and kept your license current since then

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  2. CJPhoto (183 comments) says:

    Personally I would be stricter as the learner and restricted licences should only be for people actively seeking to get a full license.

    Learners – Expires a year after you’ve done the scratchy test which can be refreshed if you sit (but fail) a test within that time. Maximum of 3 years or you have to resit the scratchy test.

    Restricted – Expires after 2 years which can be refreshed for a further year if you sit (but fail) a test within that time. Maximum of 5 years to you go back to the start.

    From an admin perspective, a flat 5 years is a lot easier but wonder if a 3 and 5 year limit could also be done easily.

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  3. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    You don’t want people staying on a learner license for ever.

    I thought people on their learner’s licences were the safest drivers :-)

    The people I know who have stayed on their learner’s licences for a long time do so because they have those licences so they can ride scooters. The don’t have, need, or want motorbikes, and the only way to graduate to a restricted or full licence is to pass a test driving a *car*. The law is stupid as it is, but this change will make it utterly moronic in respect of this largish class of licenced road users.

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  4. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @Andrei

    The full license test requires candidates to display competence as drivers.

    Forcing learners to drop their licenses or progress to full licenses should improve the quality of the average licensed driver.

    My only concern is that people will just resit their learners every five years.

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  5. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    Seems pointless to me. Seems like we’re trying to solve a problem which stems from bad attitudes and recklessness by testing practical driving abilities. Yet all that ensures is that the driver is responsible for the duration of the test. In my view should just have one written theory test to get a learner and then a practical driving test to get a full. If you stay on your learners forever and a day big deal.

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  6. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    gump,

    Forcing learners to drop their licenses or progress to full licenses should improve the quality of the average licensed driver.

    I doubt it. People naturally get more competent over time through experience. A test doesn’t change that basic fact in my opinion.

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  7. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    Why should I? I have a full car licence and my learner bike licence let’s me ride up to 660cc providing the power:weight isn’t stupid…just more costs.

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  8. Bullitt (136 comments) says:

    My partner has had her learners for around 10 years as she only got it as an ID and hasn’t used it to drive with. I’ve been trying to get her to drive but it hasn’t worked so it looks like she will be one of the people affected by this.

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  9. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (759 comments) says:

    Oh puh-lease
    if this was Labour you would call it a nanny-state money grab

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    if this was Labour you would call it a nanny-state money grab

    It does seem remarkably similar to the discussion about warrants of fitness.

    What is the evidence that this will make a difference other than filling the coffers of drivers testing organisations?

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  11. Belinda (126 comments) says:

    My daughter has been driving around on a restricted licence for 16 years.
    When she gained her restricted licence it was automatic to gain your full licence after 18 months
    with no further tests required.
    Unfortunately they changed the rules, without much publicity, so many were probably caught out.
    Maybe these people should automatically be given their full licence now,

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  12. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    Also – why should someone need to demonstrate the skills required for a full licence, if they’re happy to live with the restrictions of a restricted licence?

    If we’ve got too many dunce drivers on the road, it’d be a better idea to make the tests tougher and give people a maximum of 5 attempts before they’re lifelong pedestrians.

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  13. SGA (545 comments) says:

    @Bullitt “My partner has had her learners for around 10 years as she only got it as an ID and hasn’t used it to drive with.”

    One of my daughters is the same – she’s 18 and, at this stage, she got a Learner because it’s a readily accepted (probably second only to a passport?) and easy-to-carry form of ID. I don’t see the harm in that. Also, as I understand it, the “high hurdle” in our system is moving from Learner to Restricted, rather than Restricted to Full.

    I’m not convinced that there is a major problem here that needs “fixing”.

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  14. unaha-closp (1,033 comments) says:

    What is the evidence that this will make a difference other than filling the coffers of drivers testing organisations?

    How about if you have had a licence for 5 years and not had any crashes or infringements – you automatically get a full licence sent to you?

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  15. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Seems reasonable to me. You don’t want people staying on a learner license for ever.

    Actually, I don’t really care. I agree with the others (those who are not National apologists) that this is a waste of time.

    If people are happy to abide by the conditions of the licence, and only drive with another sober full licence holder and not drive after 10pm, then why not let them keep the learner licence?

    How about instead of making new laws to piss off more innocent people, we actually punish those who break the conditions of their learners and recidivist drunk drivers. I’d rather a person with a learners for 7 years was on the road than the guy with 13 drink drive convictions.

    This government has made so many laws turning the innocent into criminals for simply breaking rules, but the true criminals (who adversely affect others) remain as leniently treated as they were under Labour.

    I would be ashamed to be a National MP, and National should be ashamed to have Simon “Encourage to move through the system” Bridges. (And that other nanny-state Hunua ex-doctor that no-one has heard of who wants to make some more laws to protect us from sunbeds).

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  16. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    “The [system] never intended drivers to stay on a learner or restricted licence indefinitely. What these drivers need to do is demonstrate their skills and competence and graduate to a full licence in a reasonable time.”

    Pardon? The conditions of the licenses are what they say they are. Nominate changes if you like but please don’t tell me what you think “the system intended.”

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  17. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    IMHO having a wide menu of graduated licenses, that tag various people into or out of certain activities (based on their tested competence to do them) is a GOOD thing.

    There should be no time limits, the there should be MORE intermediate classes of licenses between learner and full, with more things permitted and restricted, (E.g. metal road driving, night driving, towing trailers…) and the tests should be hard.

    The present system we have, holds that the moment you pass your full license test in suburban Tauranga, you are immediately qualified to drive on metal roads, in the mountains, with snow on the road, at night – and other citizens are reasonably safe sharing the road with you. That’s quite a generous assessment! ;-)

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  18. Jim (385 comments) says:

    “Actually, I don’t really care. I agree with the others (those who are not National apologists) that this is a waste of time.”

    +1

    More rules for no reason other than to keep officious revenue collectors in jobs. Them and the cast of thousands that produce glossy pamphlets to explain pointless changes, update flowcharts, redesign forms…

    From Stuff “Driver Educators national president Wayne Young said [...] ‘The problem is every bugger is staying on their restricted and not changing.’ “ The buggers! Cheating our driver educators out of jobs!

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  19. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    First problem is that the so-called learner licence is no such thing. It is a permit to learn to drive. So rename it to Learners Permit like some countries call it. Not sure if it’s a credit card, but if it is then it should be paper to show that it’s temporary.

    Restricted means that people have proven they have learned to drive. Get rid of the exit test – it’s stupid and only there because some people didn’t understand what the restricted peroid was actually for.

    End of problem.

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  20. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    It’ll all be academic soon anyway. In ten years we’ll be plugging our smart phones into our smart car, yelling at it in a drunken stupor to take us home and we’ll wake up 12 hours later having been dragged into bed by our smart home assistant. Who need’s driving skills?

    http://news.discovery.com/tech/ces-2013-driverless-cars-motor-ahead-130109.htm

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  21. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    First problem is that the so-called learner licence is no such thing. It is a permit to learn to drive.

    It’s also the licence you need to ride a scooter or moped. Which makes requiring people who want to continuing doing that prove they can drive a car or a motorcycle they may never want to ride, really stupid.

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  22. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    North Korea does not have this “problem”.

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  23. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Weihana:

    In ten years we’ll be plugging our smart phones into our smart car, yelling at it in a drunken stupor to take us home and we’ll wake up 12 hours later having been dragged into bed by our smart home assistant.

    Don’t worry, the far-left Greens-National-Maori-Mana coalition of 2024 will have plenty of laws for the owners of smart cars and robots to follow. Fines for being having consumed alcohol will be $1000, with the money going to fund a rehabilitation fund for rapists who have completed their full 2 week sentence.

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  24. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    This seems like it’s going to create more problems that it’s actually solving. A law designed by people who mostly catch taxis.

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  25. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Mute point really. Price of gas and cars only being imported from 2005 will be out of reach for the ever increasing low decile class. Govts pour colossal amounts into roading simply to waste colossal amounts of money and help drive the value of currency down. The Nat/Lab coalition are basically financial terrorists with no original goals to stimulate the economy.

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  26. Steve (North Shore) (4,327 comments) says:

    All crap as far as I am concerned. You either pass or fail. The driving instructors can’t drive for shit either.
    Oh, a bit like Teachers and Children yes? Where I come from is there are ‘drivers’ and there are ‘steerers’

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  27. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    Next up, the 7 1/2 year license renewal cycle, followed up shortly thereafter by the 3 year New Zealand passport.

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  28. Jim (385 comments) says:

    ” the 3 year New Zealand passport.”

    And then the single trip NZ passport that costs $100k. The final solution.

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