Centre for Road Safety

Changes to help keep L and P plate drivers safer

Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme for learner, P1 and P2 drivers will better prepare them for real-world road hazards to reduce serious injuries and deaths on the road.



P2 drivers

From 1 December 2016:

  • P2 licence holders must not use any function of a mobile phone while driving or riding, or when stationary but not parked.

Learner, P1 and P2 drivers

From November 2017:

  • Hazard Perception Test required for learners to progress to unsupervised driving
  • Hazard Perception Test to be removed for P1 licence holders before progressing to a P2 licence
  • Driver Qualification Test to be removed for P2 licence holders before progressing to an unrestricted licence
  • Extending the time a driver must stay on their P2 licence by 6 months each time they receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour.

Safer limits build confidence

Special licence conditions apply for young drivers within NSW. These include speed restrictions, passenger numbers, vehicle types and laws against using mobile phones. The conditions and restrictions that apply to learner or provisional licence holders do not change when they travel outside NSW. You might also have other licence conditions, such as wearing spectacles or contact lenses when driving.



Watch your speed

  • Learner and provisional P1 drivers must not drive faster than 90 km/h
  • Provisional P2 drivers must not drive faster than 100 km/h
  • Learner or provisional drivers who speed by more than 30km/h over the limit face immediate suspension and licence confiscation by police
  • Learner and P1 drivers penalised for speeding (four demerit points) will lose their licence for at least three months
  • P2 drivers will lose their licence for at least three months if they are penalised twice for speeding

Vehicle restriction laws

P1 and P2 drivers are banned from driving high-performance vehicles that have:

  • Power to tare mass ratios of greater than 130kW per tonne or,
  • Modified engines that need to be approved by an engineer or,
  • Other high performance classifications

You can find approved vehicles in our P1/P2 vehicle search.

The Roads and Maritime Services website has more information on prohibited vehicles.

Passenger limits for P1 and P2 drivers

P1 drivers under 25 are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger under 21 between the hours of 11pm and 5am. P1 or P2 drivers who are issued with a new licence after a period of being disqualified from driving, will for 12 months only be allowed to carry one passenger.

The Roads and Maritime Services website has more information on passenger conditions.

Zero blood alcohol

All learner and provisional drivers must have a zero blood alcohol limit. Learner and provisional licence holders cannot consume any alcohol before driving. If you have a big night out, you may still be over the zero limit the next day.

Mobile phones

Learner, P1 and P2 drivers must know the rules on mobile phone use. Learner and P1 licence holders must not use a mobile phone at all while driving. This includes phones in the hands-free mode, with the loud speaker operating or sending text messages. Learner and P1 licence holders must be parked out of the line of traffic to use a mobile phone in any way.

From 22 January 2016, learner and P1 drivers penalised for illegally using a mobile phone (four demerit points) will exceed their demerit point threshold and face a three-month licence suspension.

From 1 December 2016, P2 licence holders will no longer be permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding. P2 licence holders will have the same restrictions as learner and P1 licence holders.

Towing

Learner drivers must not tow a trailer or any other vehicle and are not permitted to drive any vehicle that is being towed. P1 drivers must not drive a vehicle that is towing any other vehicle with unladen mass of more than 250kg.  P1 drivers can tow trailers either loaded or unloaded, however the unladen mass of the trailer itself (excluding the load) must not be over 250 kilograms and they must display a P plate on the back of the trailer while towing.

Seatbelts

Learner, P1 and P2 drivers can only drive a vehicle that has a seatbelt fitted to the driver’s seat. You cannot carry more passengers than there are passenger seatbelts fitted to the vehicle and all occupants must wear the seatbelts correctly when travelling.

Automatic vehicles

P1 licence holders who passed their driving test in an automatic vehicle (including vehicles with an automatic clutch actuator) will be restricted to driving automatics. This condition remains until you are issued with a provisional P2 or unrestricted licence. To remove the condition earlier, you must pass a driving test in a manual vehicle.

Displaying L and P plates

All learner and provisional drivers must clearly display their L and P plates on the front and back of the outside of the vehicle – the letters must not be hidden. Learner drivers can have their licence suspended if they drive unsupervised.

Driving and riding in other states

NSW learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders must obey the same licence conditions and restrictions (as listed above) that apply to them in NSW when they drive or ride in other states or territories in Australia.

This ‘home conditions’ rule also applies to novice drivers and riders around Australia when they drive or ride in other states or territories.