31 Aug 2016

Thousands of drivers on long-term learner licences

3:47 pm on 31 August 2016

More than 14,000 drivers in New Zealand have stayed on their learner or restricted licences for more than 20 years.

Figures released by the New Zealand Transport Agency show about 8000 people have been on their restricted licence for at least 20 years, and about 6000 have been on their learner's for the same time.

Auckland had the largest number of drivers who had not progressed to full licences, with more than 35,000 on their learner's or restricted for more than 10 years.

The government introduced legislation in 2014 that meant when a licence needed to be renewed, drivers had five years to move to the next stage of the licence.

Restricted licence-holders are banned from driving between 10pm and 5am unless they have a supervisor in the car. They also have a reduced breath alcohol limit and cannot carry passengers except for family members such as children or a spouse.

If someone is caught driving in breach of their restricted licence, they can get a fine and demerit points, and if they continue driving and get caught again they could end up losing their licence for three months.

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