New South Wales Driver Licence
The minimum driving age in New South Wales is 16 years. The government introduced the Graduated Licensing Scheme in 2000 and therefore learners progress from a learner licence, to a provisional P1 licence, to a provisional P2 licence and finally to a full licence over an extended period of time. After obtaining a licence, a driver continues to be subject to restrictions during a three-year probationary period.
- Learner Licence
A learner licence is gained after: (a) the minimum driving age of 16 is met; (b) passing a touch-screen computer-based test Driver Knowledge Test; (c) provide identification; and (d) pass an eyesight test.Learners are permitted to drive accompanied by a supervising unrestricted licence holder. Learners are subject to numerous restrictions: (a) a maximum speed of 90 km/h; (b) a zero blood alcohol content limit; (c) cannot tow a trailer; and (d) and must conspicuously display black-on-yellow “L-plates” on the exterior of the vehicle while driving.Learners must complete at least 120 hours of driving practice including 20 hours of night driving and hold the learner licence for at least 12 months before a provisional P1 licence is issued. Since 16 December 2009, one hour with an instructor is equal to three hours of normal driving hours until a total of ten hours with an instructor. This equates to a maximum of 30 hours which can be accumulated at an advanced rate. Since 19 December 2009, learner drivers 25 years old and over are not required to complete a learner driver log book and are exempt from the twelve-month tenure.
- Provisional P1 Licence
A provisional P1 licence (commonly called Ps and Reds) is gained after: (a) a minimum twelve months of holding a learner licence; (b) 120 hours (20 hours night drive between sunset and sunrise) of on-road driving experience; (c) successful completion of a computerised hazard perception test. and d) pass a driving test. The licence holder can drive unaccompanied but is limited to a maximum speed of 90 km/h, towing trailers of up to 250 kg and a zero alcohol content. Red-on-white “P-plates” must be displayed while driving. P1 drivers are limited to a total of four demerit points during the term of the licence, as compared to the thirteen-point limit on unrestricted licences. P1 drivers must hold the licence for one year before progressing to the next stage. In New South Wales the minimum age to be eligible for a provisional P1 licence is 17. As of 1 July 2007, new laws for P1 drivers have been introduced, including a limit of one passenger under the age of 21 between 11 pm and 5 am, and instant suspension for three months for any speeding offence. Furthermore, it is also now a requirement that red “P-plates” be displayed on the outside of the vehicle.
As of 20 November 2017, the Hazard Perception Test, became a requirement for learner drivers to progress to P1 Provisional license.
P1 and P2 drivers are also prohibited from driving a vehicle with a power-to-weight ratio of or greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne as of 1 August 2014, replacing the previous law of being prohibited from driving vehicles with 8 or more cylinders and being turbocharged or supercharged (diesel vehicles exempt) If a P1 or P2 licence holder is disqualified by a court for a serious driving offence, they will have a one-passenger condition imposed on them at all times while on their P1 or P2 licence. It is also worth noting that any time a P1 or P2 licence is suspended or disqualified will NOT count towards the 12 months/24 months needed for the holder to progress to a P2/full licence.
- Provisional P2 Licence
A provisional P2 licence (commonly known as Ps and Greens) is gained after one year on P1 license. The driver is restricted to a speed limit of 100 km/h, a zero alcohol limit and a maximum of seven ; however, they are eligible to upgrade the class of their licence, such as those for heavier vehicles.
P2 drivers must conspicuously display a green-on-white “P-plate” on the exterior of the vehicle at all times. P2 drivers must hold the licence for two years before progressing to the next stage.
From 1 December 2016, P2 licence holders will no longer be permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding.
- Full Licence
- A full, unrestricted licence is gained after two years and successful completion of another computerised test. Unrestricted drivers licences are coloured gold.