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Barriers removed for certain license holders

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Unnecessary conditions on learner and restricted licences will disappear next month when the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Rule (2) 2021 comes into force.

From December 1 2021 the five-year limit, the requirement to sit a theory test at renewal and the 90-day restriction on renewal will be removed from learner and restricted driver licences.

New Zealand’s driver licence system has three progression stages – learner, restricted and full licence – to manage the crash risk of drivers learning to drive, with minimum time periods to be completed before a driver can apply to progress through to the next stage.

“Despite efforts to encourage drivers to progress through the licence stages within five years drivers have not moved to a higher stage for valid reasons, and this has had no clear benefit or impact on road safety,” says Waka Kotahi’s Director of Land Transport Kane Patena.

“These changes make all stages of licence valid for 10 years and will allow drivers to gain the skills and confidence to progress to the next licence stage at their own pace or stay at their licence stage if they choose to.”

“Feedback gathered during consultation confirmed that the changes will make licensing more accessible and remove cost, stress and anxiety from drivers on learner and restricted licences wanting to stay at their stage of licence or advance in their own time,” says Kane.

These changes will also help alleviate pressure on the driver licensing system that has a backlog of licence renewals due to Covid-19 restrictions and is expecting approximately 3,000-5,000 licence holders a month will apply to have their learner or restricted licence renewed between now and late 2023.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency consulted, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, on Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Rule (No 2) 2021 between September 13 and October 8 2021.

After considering all the feedback, Waka Kotahi concluded there were no additional unanticipated risks arising from the proposals and the changes would ensure the legislation is sound and working for all.

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