Centre for Road Safety

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

Important changes are being made to the GLS to improve the safety of young and novice drivers on our roads.

On 20 November 2017, changes were introduced to the GLS requiring new licence holders to complete the following steps to progress from a learner to a full licence:

 
GLS process: Driver Knowledge Test, Learner licence, Hazard Perception Test, Driving Test, P1 licence, P2 licence, full licence.

More information about the changes to the GLS is available in our FAQs.

Safer limits build confidence

Special licence conditions apply for young and novice 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 glasses or contact lenses when driving.

Supervised driving

All learner drivers must be supervised by someone with a full (unrestricted) driver licence. Learner drivers can have their licence suspended if they drive unsupervised. Learner drivers under 25 years must complete 120 hours of supervised driving (including 20 hours at night).

 

Manage 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 30 km/h over the limit face immediate suspension and licence confiscation by police
  • Learner and P1 drivers caught speeding will exceed their demerit point limit and 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

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.

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 and provisional drivers must not use a mobile phone while driving. This includes phones in the hands-free mode, with the loud speaker operating or sending text messages.

The only instances where Learner or Provisional drivers can legally use their mobile phones are:

  • To show their Digital Driver Licence (after being requested to do so by police)
  • To use wallet functions (when stationary and on a road-related area such as in a carpark, driveway or drive-thru).

Learner and P1 drivers caught using a mobile phone illegally will exceed their demerit point limit and face a three-month licence suspension.

P2 licence holders will have two demerit points remaining if they are penalised for illegally using a mobile phone.

Our Know the rules page has more information about mobile phone use.

Vehicle restriction laws

Provisional 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.

Transport for NSW 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 are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger for 12 months.

The Transport for NSW website has more information on passenger conditions.

Peer passenger restrictions are different in Victoria. Follow our flow chart to learn what applies when you  drive in Victoria.

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.

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, unless they are being supervised by a person with an unrestricted licence. 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.

Seatbelts and child restraints

Learner and provisional drivers must wear a seatbelt and ensure that their passengers are sitting in a seat with a suitable seatbelt or child restraint for their age and are wearing the seatbelt or restraint properly fastened and adjusted.

Driving and riding in other states

NSW learner and provisional 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.