Driving test pass rates – which have recently fallen to 39 per cent – could get worse with the changes to two give way rules this Sunday.
The new rules will see changes for uncontrolled T-intersections and the left-turn versus right-turn rule at crossroad intersections.
In February, The New Zealand Transport Association made the restricted and full driving tests more difficult in a bid to raise driving skill levels.
As a result of these changes, the proportion of people passing the tests fell from 80 per cent in January to 39 per cent in February.
Hasib Hussein failed the full licence test last week and says the new driving tests are significantly harder than previous tests.
“I was really upset when I failed because I thought I was ready but the test was twice as hard, and with the new give way rules, I think the rate could go down further,” says Hussein.
Karen Dickson, driver training manager for the AA, says the low pass rate was due to drivers not meeting the right standard before the test and that “in the scheme of things, the give way rule is only a small part of testing”.
“The give way rule will make fewer crashes at intersections in New Zealand, but it won’t make people who are driving badly drive any better. They just need to have more knowledge on the new road rules,” says Dickson.
Apple Driving School instructor Alan Butler says drivers doing the test will have to work harder to be more aware of other drivers who may not have changed their old driving habits.
“The ones I feel sorry for are the ones doing their tests at the moment because every driver will be new to the rules so they will have to drive with even more caution,” says Butler.
Dickson says driving instructors and driving testers have been given a lot of information and undergone training on the upcoming rule changes.
“The change has been a concentrated programme because we don’t want people going out and putting these changes in place now otherwise we’ll have a whole lot of chaos.”
Hussein believes driving testers will “focus especially on the new give way rules in further tests”.
Dickson says drivers should get familiar with intersections on routes they take to places such as work and school to build up confidence with the new rules.
“But I wouldn’t go for the test on Monday if it was me and I wasn’t 100 per cent certain,” says Dickson.
The give way rule changes come into effect at 5am this Sunday, March 25.