Handbrake on driving tests

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Getting prospective drivers behind the wheel in Queenstown is proving problematic, and frustrating.

A Queenstown mum says her daughter has been taking driving lessons in preparation for sitting her restricted licence, but there were no appointments available this month, and no future dates listed online.

The woman, who didn’t want to be named, says her daughter needs to get her restricted so she can get a job, and there’s just nothing available.

NZTA has acknowledged delays across Otago, and new staff are being trained up to help with the workload.

The Queenstown woman says one of her daughter’s friends is considering going to Invercargill to sit her test, because it’s the closest place she can get an appointment.

NZTA regulatory services boss Kane Patena says at times driver testing officers will work across Otago sites to support and cover schedules.

As of the end of last week wait times for Otago stood at 33 days for a restricted test and 38 days for a full licence test.

The aim is for applicants to get a test within 30 days of booking.

To address this issue, Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) is conducting a driver testing officer training course with two trainee testing officers located in Otago, Patena says.

“The transport agency expects to see the wait times reduce over the next four weeks once the testing officers have completed and passed the course.

“The transport agency continues to work actively with VTNZ to achieve better management of the wait times, particularly as the demand has increased.”

daisy.hudson@scene.co.nz