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Drivers to get more time to gain full licence

Drivers holding a current five-year learner or restricted car or motorbike licence, expiring between 1 December 2019 and 1 December 2021, will receive an automatic two-year extension, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today.

Over 144,000 drivers’ time-limited licences are due to expire in the next two years; 67,000 in the 12 months from 1 December 2019 and a further 77,000 the year after.

“The extension is a pragmatic, short-term measure to avert the potential for thousands of drivers becoming unlicensed over the next two years,” Julie Anne Genter said.

“The reprieve gives learner and restricted drivers a little more time to get their full licence, improve their driving skills or save up to pay for the test, but I want to be clear that people on time-restricted licences need to take the necessary steps as soon as possible to move to a full licence.

“The imminent expiration of driver licenses is linked to a rule change in 2014 that introduced a five-year time limit on restricted or learner licences.

“Whether people are unaware their licence is time limited, or for other reasons, the current rate of learner or restricted drivers progressing to the next licence stage is too low.

“Time-limited licences make sense in theory, but we also need to acknowledge that people without the resources, training, or support to pass these tests risk becoming unlicensed when time’s up. This situation points to a larger problem with our licensing system, which is why over the next two years the government will:
• Immediately review the Graduated Driver Licensing System
• Launch a communication campaign to help licence holders understand the changes and encourage them to progress to the next licence stage;
• Develop additional programmes to help disadvantaged young drivers access licensing
• Expand access to driver training and resources in schools
• Increase the capacity of driver licence testing sites.

“My message to licence holders in this situation is - don’t wait. Book your test now. If cost is an issue talk to Work and Income about the financial assistance on offer.

“While extended expired licence will be legal to drive on, I nevertheless encourage holders to either progress or renew the licence so it is visibly up-to-date. This will make it simpler if you use your licence as ID for proof of age,” said Julie Anne Genter.

Further information is available at: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/

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