To safely conduct lessons at Alert Level 2 we will be using the following protocols:
What is a PINK driver’s licence?
A driver with a pink licence has special conditions because of a suspension or disqualification.
The words ALCOHOL INTERLOCK appear above the photo.
The driver can drive all classes of vehicle displayed on the card, but the vehicle must be fitted with an alcohol interlock device to prevent drink driving.
The word LIMITED appears above the photo. This means that the driver is currently suspended or disqualified and is driving under the conditions of a court order. The driver may be able to drive to and from work, for example.
On the back of the licence the words ‘REF COURT ORDER’ appear.
The words ZERO ALCOHOL appear above the photo. The driver must not have any detectable alcohol in their system if driving using this licence.
The conditions on the back of the licence specify the driver is subject to zero alcohol level.
The driver can drive any class of vehicle noted on the licence.
Other types of licence
Regular driver’s licences for learner, restricted and full are blue, yellow and green respectively.
When will I get my learner licence?
You can take your learner licence test as young as your sixteenth birthday.
Will I get my learner licence immediately after the test?
If you pass the test you will be given a temporary learner licence which is valid for 21 days while your photo learner licence is made and sent to you.
Is the test on paper?
The test is computerised, like the learner licence tests here.
Worried about overseas motorists? Blame NapoleonThis how we do it in New Zealand - we drive on the left side of the road.Next time you get in the driver's seat on the right-hand side of your car, store everything in the centre console to your left, grip the steering wheel with your right hand, then head down the left side of the street, consider that you are doing exactly what your medieval ancestors would have done.
The only real difference is that instead of getting in via the right-hand front door of the car, they would have found it easier to mount their horse from the left, swinging their right leg over before getting in the saddle. Why? Because they would have had their sword stored in its scabbard on their left side, ready to be pulled out with the right hand to help deal to any danger.
And because the most efficient way to use a weapon with the right hand was to make sure the opponent was to the right of the horse, these medieval swordsmen would have ridden on the left side of the road.
What was the driver on the right thinking? Turning right on the other side of the roundabout was a dangerous move.
Today, hundreds of years later, we still drive down the left side of the road, Well, about 39 per cent of do - all the rest of the world now drives on the right side of the road.
Driver caught on camera driving on the wrong side of the road
Apparently there are several reasons why more than half of us now drive on the right.
The story goes that it all began in the 18th Century when large wagons hitched up to several pairs of horses began to be used to haul big loads of farm products In France and the United States. These wagons had no driver's seats, and instead the driver sat on the left rear horse so he could keep his right arm free to use his whip. Because the driver was on the left, visibility was best down the left side of his team of horses, so these teams began keeping to the right side of the road.
Late that century the French Revolution added impetus to the change to the right - up until then the aristocracy travelled to the left and peasants to the right, but after the revolution the aristocrats decided to keep a low profile by joining up with the peasants on their side of the road.
What were the French bureaucrats to do? The answer was obvious - in 1794 they turned into law the trend to travel on the right side of the road. Then when Napoleon embarked on his conquests throughout Europe, he spread the law to those countries as well, with the only nations keeping left being those that resisted Napoleon's advances.
Over the years various countries have shifted their driving habits from one side of the road to the other, almost exclusively from left to right, but some have gone from the right to the left - the latest being Samoa which changed to right-hand driving in 2009 so it could become easier to import second-hand cars from Japan and New Zealand.One of those countries was Great Britain, which in 1835 made it mandatory to drive on the left side of the road. All other members of the British Empire followed suit, and that's why New Zealand and Australia are right-hand drive to this day.
Great Britain once thought it might like to change sides too - which obviously would have meant a change for New Zealand as well. In 1960 it was proposed to join most of the rest of Europe and switch to left-hand drive, but a combination of political opposition and the potential cost of the change soon put a halt to that idea.
So which is best? There is some evidence to suggest that driving on the left side of the road is safer, simply because the greater percentage of the world's motorists are right-handed and therefore right-eye dominant. This means the stronger right hand can be used to control the steering wheel, and the right eye is the one closest to oncoming traffic.
Whatever, it all means that as New Zealand's tourism industry grows, an increasing number of visitors from places as diverse as China, South Korea, USA and Germany will find themselves touring our country on the 'wrong' side of the road. You can blame Napoleon for that.
Accident and crash are two loaded words. A discussion frequently occurs about whether an accident is really an accident – aren’t they just all ‘crashes’, and all preventable? It is a discussion that can be confusing if you let the semantics of the words take over, and there are grey areas.
The answer is that an accident can result in a crash if the vehicle hits something, which won’t always be the case. For example, you could slide off the road and cause no damage to yourself or your vehicle, so it’s definitely not a crash in that case. Almost all are preventable (this is the important fact), but the word accident describes the intention of the driver at the time. An accident could result in injury, death and damage, but it’s whether the person intended that injury, death or damage to happen that influences how we should perceive this.
Let’s ditch the semantics and look at it realistically:
The grey area is when you knowingly do something that elevates your risk, even though you might not have the intention of having a ‘crash’. Using your cellphone while in control of the vehicle increases your risk dramatically, and you might have a crash, the crash wasn’t the intentional part; your elevation and acceptance of the risk was the intentional part. So, can you really call it an ‘accident.’ It’s difficult to say.
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."
The changes are part of the Government's strategy aimed at young and novice drivers - which has already seen the driving age increased to 16, licence tests tightened and a zero blood-alcohol limit for drivers under-20 introduced.
"Limiting the time that learner and restricted licences can be held is going to encourage these licence holders to progress through the [system] in a timely way and become skilled and safe drivers."
Under the graduated licence system, drivers with a learner licence can only drive under the supervision of a fully licensed driver. After six months they can then sit their restricted licence, which allows them to drive solo, but with restrictions around night driving and carrying passengers.
The move has been praised "in principle" by the AA and the Institute of Driver Educators, though both suggested the proposed changes were not exactly to their liking.
AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen said he would have preferred to see restricted drivers excluded from the changes.
Under recent changes, the restricted examination has become the toughest test on the road.
"We support it in principle . . . that we want to have all drivers progressing. But certainly we think putting a time limit on the licences will need to be handled very carefully.
"There's no real need to push them into it if they're not out on the road."
The AA was concerned that the time limits could create financial difficulties for some learner drivers, while hurrying others into chasing their restricted before they were ready.
Driver Educators national president Wayne Young said an expiration date on licences would have been a better idea, but he appreciated the steps the Government had taken.
"The problem is every bugger is staying on their restricted and not changing.
"They [the Government] are trying to give them the message: Hey mate, you need to move on."
Superintendent Carey Griffiths, police national road policing manager, said police "absolutely" supported Mr Bridges' announcement. "We want to see more drivers appropriately licensed and encouraged to be so."
There are three licence holders who have held a learner licence for more than 25 years, NZTA data shows.
It is not clear exactly how long they have stalled on their beginners' licences, due to the previous paper recording system.
There is also one licence holder who has held a restricted licence for the same period, more than 25 years.
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.
In a survey of 1000 drivers aged 18 to 25, one quarter of them admitted to never having checked their tyre pressures, and one third had never checked the tread depth. 62% underestimated the minimum legal tread depth of 1.5mm (which must be within all principal grooves containing moulded tread depth indicators, or if they are not available, across 75% of the tyre’s width). However, tyre performance drops off significantly in the wet at tread depths below 3mm, so drivers should look to replace tyres when they reach this level rather than wait until they’re 1.5mm.
Ingenie Insurance ran the survey and also found that 82% of people underestimated the fine for having a defective tyre in the UK where they are way more draconian than in New Zealand (UKP2500, or about NZ$5000, plus up to 6 points on the licence). Our fines are $150-370, with a maximum penalty of $500. The other thing to be aware of is that insurance companies may refuse to pay out for a claim if a tyre is obviously defective.
Drivers can stay safe by setting a diary note each month to check tread depth, pressure and for any obvious signs of damage such as gouges, bulges or cracks in the sidewall.
An Indian tourist reported for driving in the incorrect lane at least four times in an afternoon told the Queenstown District Court he did not know what the centre lines on the road were for.
Vinod Deviprasad Singh, 48, property developer, was fined $400 and disqualified from driving for six months when he appeared before Judge Michael Turner yesterday for dangerous driving on Monday.
Singh, through the help of his friend in court, told the judge he was not advised of the New Zealand road rules when he was given the keys to his rental car at Apex Car Rentals and did not understand what the coloured lines on the road meant.
In India, drivers were allowed to cross the centre line if there were no cars on the opposite side of the road and in most areas there was a small concrete wall in the centre of the road, he said.
Several members of the public called police about Singh's driving between Beaumont and Queenstown after he was seen crossing the centre line, passing cars on double yellow lines and found fully in the opposite lane on blind corners at least four times.
At least two drivers had to take evasive action to avoid crashing.
More members of the public called police when they saw Singh pull out in front of a car at the Roaring Meg in the Kawarau Gorge and drive erratically without headlights on at dusk.
When police found Singh, who was travelling with his wife and two daughters, he admitted driving over the centre line, saying the "corners were too sharp".
The judge said tourists would continue to offend in this way until changes were made by rental car companies, which hired cars to tourists with no knowledge of the road rules, road signs, New Zealand's driving culture and the state of New Zealand's roads.
The offending was particularly common in the lower South Island, he said.
Singh had hoped the judge would let him carry on driving until his holiday, with a party of seven others, in New Zealand finished this week.
However, the judge disqualified Singh from driving immediately and ordered the fine to be paid before he left the country.
After the sentencing, Apex Christchurch manager Tony Quinlivan said Singh was given the appropriate information and would have been provided with a folder that explained the road rules when he completed the paperwork to rent the car.
A "What's different about driving in New Zealand" flier was given out, which explains the keep left rule, speed limits, give way rules and overtaking rules.
Quinlivan said customers could take a road rule test online but it was not compulsory.