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Auckland Transport

Young drivers Young drivers

Young drivers make up a large part of crash statistics and Auckland Transport wants to help reduce this number. We work with schools, the local community and regional agencies. To help change young driver behaviour, Auckland Transport has launched a new campaign to empower young people to make better driving choices. Check out the first video below.


Crash statistics for young drivers

Road crashes are the leading cause of death for New Zealanders aged 16 to 24 years. In Auckland between 2013 and 2017, road crashes resulted in the death or serious injury of 336 young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24. Young people travelling as passengers in these road crashes were also affected, with 160 deaths and serious injuries*. The most common crash factors were alcohol and speed.

Young drivers are more vulnerable to crash risk because they are still developing, both physically and mentally, and it takes time and practice to develop safe driving skills. Dangers on the road are often underestimated and it is therefore important that these drivers are supported with education and awareness training.

While Auckland Transport is working towards making our road infrastructure safer, it is also important that young drivers and their families are encouraged to make safer vehicle choices so while young drivers develop and gain experience, their mistakes do not cost lives.

*Provisional 2017 NZTA Crash Analysis System data


Rules for learner, restricted and full licenses*

The NZ graduated licencing system has 3 stages: learner, restricted and full.

If you drive without a licence, you risk a fine of $400. Also, if you are driving outside your licence conditions and have crash, your insurance may not be valid.

On your restricted, you are 10 times more likely to crash when you have passengers than if you are driving alone. This risk increases when the passengers are a similar age to you.

If you’re under 20 years of age, there is a zero alcohol limit when driving. This means if you drive after consuming just one drink, you can be charged with drink-driving (this could also affect you the day after a big night out).

Learner licence

To apply for a learner licence you must be at least 16 years old.

  • You must display “L” plates on the front and rear end of your car.
  • Failure to display “L” plates could result in 35 demerit points and a fine of $100.
  • You must be supervised by someone who has had a full licence for at least 2 years.
  • 120 hours of driving experience is recommended before sitting your restricted licence test.

Restricted licence

To apply for your restricted you must have held your learner licence for at least 6 months.

  • You can drive on your own between 5am and 10pm.
  • You must not carry passengers unless you have a supervisor with you. Your supervisor must have held their full licence for at least 2 years. The only passengers you can carry without a supervisor are:
    • Your husband/wife or civil union partner (for those over 18, a de facto partner may also travel with you)
    • Children who live with you and are under the care of you or your spouse
    • Your parent or guardian
    • Someone you look after as their primary caregiver
  • Breaching any of the conditions of your licence could result in 35 demerit points and a fine of $100.

Full licence

You must have held your restricted licence for 18 months before you can apply for your full licence.

If you have completed an approved advanced driving skills course, this is reduced to 12 months.

* This information is a general guide only. It is not the source of the law.


Information for parents

You are a major influence on the driving behaviour of your young driver. Teaching them the skills they need to become a safe and competent driver will help reduce their chances of having an accident in their first years of driving alone.

If possible, also engage a professional driving instructor for at least a part of their training.

Driving supervisors provides some free advice to empower and support parents to become great driving practice supervisors.

drive.govt.nz has tools and resources to help learner drivers pass their restricted test the first time.


Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD)

SADD is a peer-education programme that has been in New Zealand for almost 20 years. The primary objective of SADD is to reduce the harm caused on our roads by drink drivers. The education programme is run in secondary schools by students, independent of the school curriculum, and is open to any student from any year.

For more information about SADD, visit www.sadd.org.nz.


For more information

Contact Auckland Transport