Centre for Road Safety

Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme

Graduated Licensing Scheme explained

  1. What is the Graduated Licensing Scheme?
  2. Why are you making these changes?
  3. What changes have already been implemented?
  4. Do the new changes apply to motorcycle riders?
  5. I am over 25. Do these changes apply differently to me?

1. What is the Graduated Licensing Scheme?

The Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS) is the process you follow to go from your learner driver licence through to your full licence. Through experience, restrictions, conditions and tests, the GLS prepares new drivers to be safe and low risk drivers.

2. Why are you making these changes?

The GLS has helped to halve the number of fatalities involving young drivers on NSW roads but with 100 fatalities from crashes involving this group last year we are making further changes to the licensing scheme to reduce the risk of learner, P1 and P2 drivers being involved in a crash.

In 2016, drivers on a P1 or P2 licence made up eight per cent of all licence holders but they represented 15 per cent of all fatalities on NSW roads. To reduce the number of new drivers involved in crashes we need to improve the way the GLS prepares novice drivers – in particular young drivers – to be safe and low risk drivers.

3. What changes have already been implemented?

From 1 December 2016, the ban on mobile phones while driving or riding was extended to P2 licence holders. The ban now applies to all Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders.

4. Do the new changes apply to motorcycle licence holders?

No, the 20 November 2017 changes are for drivers only.

5. I am over 25. Do these changes apply differently to me?

The changes apply to all Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders regardless of their age. Learner drivers over the age of 25 are still not required to spend a minimum amount of time on their Learner licence or complete the minimum 120 hours supervised driving. Learner drivers over the age of 25 will not be required to hold their Learner licence for a minimum of 10 months before they are eligible to take the Hazard Perception Test.

Hazard Perception Test changes

  1. What is the Hazard Perception Test?
  2. Why is the HPT being moved?
  3. When will I be able to take my HPT?
  4. When can learners who have held their licence before 20 November 2017 book the HPT?
  5. If I pass the HPT, can I book in my driving test straight away?
  6. Does this mean drivers can progress straight from a P1 to a P2 licence without any tests?
  7. Will moving the HPT make it harder for learner drivers to get their P1 licence, especially learners from disadvantaged communities?

1. What is the Hazard Perception Test?

The Hazard Perception Test (HPT) is a computer-based touch screen test that measures a driver’s ability to recognise potentially dangerous situations and respond appropriately. It aims to make sure a driver's hazard perception skills are at a high enough level for them to progress to the next stage of licensing.

2. Why is the HPT being moved?

Moving the HPT to the end of the learner stage means young drivers must demonstrate hazard perception skills before they progress to driving solo. Given that the crash risk of young drivers is highest during the first 6 to 12 months of solo driving, the HPT offers the greatest potential to assist young driver safety if it is passed before they progress to a provisional licence.

3. When will I be able to take my HPT?

Learners, 25 years and under, need to have held their licence for at least 10 months before they can take the HPT. Learner drivers who are older than 25 years do not need to have held their licence for 10 months and can take the HPT when they feel ready. Visit the Roads and Maritime Services website to find out about test fees.

4. When can learners who have held their licence before 20 November 2017 book the HPT?

Learners can book the HPT from the 20 November 2017. Learners must pass the HPT before they can take the driving test for their provisional licence.

5. If I pass the HPT, can I book in my driving test straight away?

Learners, under the age of 25, who have passed the HPT, held their licence for 12 months and logged 120 hours of supervised driving can attempt the driving test. If you take the HPT at 10 months on your learner licence, you will need to wait another 2 months and log 120 hours of supervised driving before you can take the driving test.

6. Does this mean drivers can progress straight from a P1 to a P2 licence without any tests?

Yes. P1 drivers will still be required to complete 12 months on their P1 licence before they can progress to a P2 licence. P1 drivers who held their licence before 20 November 2017 will need to complete the HPT to progress to a P2 licence.

7. Will moving the HPT make it harder for learner drivers to get their P1 licence, especially learners from disadvantaged communities?

There are some drivers, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, who have difficulties passing computer-based tests, including the HPT. This is for a range of different reasons, which include limited computer or literacy skills, or financial pressures.

To support drivers in this situation, the Driver Licensing Access Program includes assistance options such as access to a car and supervising drivers. It also provides assistance to learner drivers with poor computer literacy skills to help them attempt the HPT.

Service NSW centres will be able to provide local contacts to licence holders who are unsure of who to ask for help with the new process. Contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

Removing the Driver Qualification Test

  1. What is the Driver Qualification Test?
  2. Why is the DQT being removed?
  3. Why do P2 drivers who held their licence before 20 November 2017 still have to do the DQT?

1. What is the Driver Qualification Test?

The Driver Qualification Test (DQT) is the final stage of the licensing process. It aims to confirm that P2 drivers have the knowledge and skills to move to a full licence.

2. Why is the DQT being removed?


Research shows that a licence holder’s driving record is a better predictor of future crash involvement than performance in the DQT. This is why we are changing the law so that P2 drivers who are suspended for unsafe driving behaviour will remain on their P2 licence for an extra 6 months for every suspension they receive.

3. Why do P2 drivers who held their licence before 20 November 2017 still have to do the DQT?

The licence extension replaces the DQT. However, as this is not being applied to licence holders since before 20 November 2017, they would be missing a step if they did not complete the DQT. 

If a P2 driver who held their licence before 20 November 2017 renews their licence they will not have to complete the DQT to get their full licence but they will be subject to the licence extension if they receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour. Visit the Roads and Maritime Services website to find out about test fees.

Extension for P2 drivers who receive a suspension

  1. What is the licence extension?
  2. Does the 6 months suspension count towards the P2 minimum two year licence?
  3. How many P2 drivers are likely to be affected?
  4. What happens if I receive a suspension from a different State or Territory?
  5. Could I have my P2 licence extended by more than 6 months?
  6. When will the extension not apply?
  7. What will be the safety benefit from extending the P2 licence?
  8. Can a P2 driver elect to serve a good behaviour period instead of a suspension?
  9. Will the validity of P2 licence be extended?

1. What is the licence extension?

The licence extension means that the time a P2 driver spends on their P2 licence will be extended by six months each time they receive a licence suspension. This will only apply if they receive a demerit point suspension or a suspension for committing a higher risk road traffic offence (such as exceeding the speed limit by 30km/h or more). A P2 driver who receives multiple suspensions will have their licence extended multiple times.

2. Does the 6 months suspension count towards the P2 minimum two year licence?

No, periods of suspension do not count toward the minimum two year P2 licence. If a P2 driver commits an offence that does not result in a suspension, their time on a P2 licence will not be extended.

3. How many P2 drivers are likely to be affected?

Extending the P2 licence will only affect high risk and repeat offenders. Currently only 17 per cent of P2 drivers receive a suspension during the time on their P2 licence.

4. What happens if I receive a suspension from a different State or Territory?

P2 drivers who receive a suspension from a different State or Territory will have that suspension applied to their NSW licence.

5. Could I have my P2 licence extended by more than 6 months?

Yes, if you receive multiple suspensions your licence will be extended by 6 months for each suspension. Suspension periods could be served consecutively or separately depending on the circumstance of the offence(s).

6. When will the extension not apply?

The extension doesn’t apply to:

  • Suspensions such as unpaid fines or medical suspensions
  • P2 drivers who receive a licence disqualification. This is because a disqualification is for more serious offences that carry the highest road safety risk. Currently, any P2 driver who has their licence disqualified must restart their minimum two years when their disqualification has passed.

7. What will be the safety benefit from extending the P2 licence?

The extension will ensure the safety benefits of current P2 licence restrictions apply to drivers whose history suggests they are at higher risk of future crash involvement. These drivers will still have a licence to drive after the suspension period, however, the safety restrictions of the P2 licence — including zero BAC and a 100km/h speed limit — will remain with the aim of reducing the likelihood of the driver being involved in a serious crash.

8. Can a P2 driver elect to serve a good behaviour period instead of a suspension?

No, P2 drivers are not eligible for good behaviour periods.

9. Will the validity of a P2 licence be extended?

Yes, a P2 licence issued on or after 20 November 2017 will be valid for 36 months instead of 30 months. There will be no cost increase.

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