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Overview of the structure of the restricted licence test

Test duration

The test takes a total of one hour to administer. This time allows for:

  • meeting the applicant
  • conducting the pre-drive vehicle safety check
  • conducting a 45 minute practical drive
  • adding up the test score sheet at the end of each stage
  • providing feedback to the applicant on their performance at the end of the test.

Test route stages

The test comprises two stages.

  • Stage 1 of the test takes 10 minutes and is a set of relatively simple driving tasks conducted in a less complex traffic environment designed to assess the applicant’s driving ability. This stage is conducted in speed zones of up to 60km/h and determines whether the applicant is a sufficiently skilled and safe driver to proceed to the more challenging driving tasks and environments of Stage 2 of the test.
    An applicant who does not achieve a satisfactory score in Stage 1 is not permitted to undertake Stage 2 of the test. In this way, applicants who are not ready to tackle the more challenging tasks in Stage 2 are screened out before they can pose a danger to themselves and other road users.
  • Stage 2 of the test takes 35 minutes and is designed to assess the applicant’s ability to perform more challenging tasks in moderately challenging environments within speed zones of 60km/h and over.

To pass the RLT, an applicant must demonstrate safe decision-making, observance of road rules and satisfactory car-handling skills throughout the whole test.

Stages 1 and 2 of the RLT must be undertaken during a single test booking. They cannot be split into separate appointments.

Driving tasks

There are two types of driving tasks in the RLT:

  •  Assessable tasks include left and right turns, lane changes (or turning right across traffic where lane changes are not available), merging with other traffic, straight drives, straight or right at a roundabout and a reverse parallel park. The applicant’s performance on each assessable task is assessed according to predetermined task assessment items.
  • Linking manoeuvres join up the assessable tasks into a complete driving route that begins and ends at the car park of the testing office or other suitable location for the start. Linking manoeuvres include similar driving manoeuvres to the assessable tasks but do not have associated task assessment items assigned to them.

There are seven assessable tasks in Stage 1 and 18 assessable tasks in Stage 2.

Assessable tasks

 Assessment items

During the test the applicant will be assessed against three different assessment criteria:

  • Task assessment items assess one aspect of driving performance during the execution of each assessable task. 
    Task assessment items
  • Critical errors which are recorded at any time they occur during the RLT, whether during an assessable task or not. 
    Critical errors 
  • Immediate failure errors are also recorded at any time they occur and result in the immediate failure of the test. 
    Immediate failure errors

Note that this guide does not cover the number of driving faults that are permitted
during the test as the pre-test preparation should not be focused around how many driving faults may be made during the test, but rather whether the novice driver has the necessary skills to be a safe driver (ie they can consistently perform the driving tasks to the required standard).

If the novice driver is making any critical errors or immediate failure errors in training then they are clearly not yet ready to attempt this test.