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Almost half of New Zealanders sitting restricted driver licences are failing, with a lack of practise behind the wheel being blamed.

Young drivers often don't identify hazards well and tend to do much better when they get professional lessons, experts say.

Statistics from the NZ Transport Agency show 45 per cent of people who sat a restricted licence in New Zealand, from January to November this year, failed.

This is the highest failure rate since 2014, when it was also at 45 per cent, and it has not dipped below 40 per cent in the past four years.

A push to improve the driving of young people is among Government moves to ensure students leave school with broader skills such as budgeting and civics education.

In August, the Labour Party promised free driving lessons for all secondary school students, as well as free testing for restricted and full licences.

The success rate for practical tests shoots up when drivers take advantage of lessons beforehand.

A1 Driving School instructor Clinton Crabbe said people would often come to him when they had already failed a driving test. 

Many learner drivers simply lacked experience behind the wheel, he said. 

"People are trying to do their test without doing enough driving."

People also needed to practise at home so the skills they acquired during professional driving lessons weren't lost, Crabbe said. 

Central District road policing manager Inspector Brett Calkin​ said it would be beneficial if every learner could be put through a free defensive driving course.

"That helps make people safe and more considerate drivers, but there is a significant cost in doing that."

Source: www.stuff.co.nz

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