The minimum driving age in Victoria is 18 years. A learner can drive at the age of 16 under the supervision of a fully licensed driver since 1966. After obtaining a licence, a driver continues to be subject to restrictions during a 4-year probationary period.
A Learner’s Permit may be obtained by a person over 16 years. The applicant must pass a computerised knowledge test and an eyesight test. Learner drivers must not consume any alcohol before driving (i.e. the Blood alcohol content (BAC) must be zero), and must be accompanied by a driver who holds a full driver licence and has a BAC below 0.05%. A Victorian learner’s permit is valid for 10 years from date of issue.’L’ plates must be displayed while driving, and must not tow a trailer. There are no special speed or vehicle restrictions.
Learner permits, P1 and P2 probationary licences may incur a maximum of 5 demerit points in any 12 month period, and 12 points in any 3 year period.
A P1 Probationary Driver Licence holder must be over 18 years of age and pass a computerised Hazard Perception Test, a practical driving test and an eyesight test. P1 drivers must display white-on-red ‘P-plates’.An applicant for a Driver Licence must have held a Learner’s Permit for at least 12 months if the applicant is under 21 years at the time of applying; 6 months if the applicant is between 21 and 24 years; and 3 months for applicants aged over 25 years. If a driver obtained their Learner’s Permit after 1 July 2007, and are under 21 years of age, they must have logged 120 hours of practice, including 20 hours at night.
Probationary drivers must drive with a zero BAC, and are not permitted to drive ‘high powered vehicles’ (formerly those powered at more than 125 kW/tonne or 3.5 litres/tonne; now all petrol turbocharged and supercharged cars and any car of more than 6 cylinders, refer below). If the driver was tested in an automatic vehicle, the driver will have an “A” condition applied to their licence and are not permitted to drive a manual transmission vehicle. The “A” condition can be lifted anytime during the probationary period(s) by taking the practical drive test in a manual transmission vehicle.
There are no speed restrictions, however trailers may not be towed except for work purposes. P1 drivers have a peer passenger restriction which sees P1 drivers only able to carry no more than one passenger aged between 16–21 years old (excluding family members; exemptions may also be allowed by VicRoads for other reasons) at any time. They must not use any form of mobile phone including hands-free.
On 1 July 2008, what is considered a high power vehicle was redefined. P plate drivers were no longer allowed to drive cars with engines larger than a V6, cars that have a turbo or supercharger (unless it is a diesel). A shortlist was produced of cars that comply with these restrictions but are still considered powerful and therefore banned. The list includes BMW M3 and Porsche 911. There have been many complaints about this system as several slower cars have been banned, such as the Peugeot 308, but faster cars such as VW Golf R32 and BMW 130i were still permitted.
On 1 July 2014, the rules were again modified, to distinguish between vehicles manufactured before 1 January 2010, and those manufactured after. Probationary drivers are now permitted to drive any vehicle manufactured after 1 January 2010 that does not have a power-to-mass ratio of greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne, and does not have a modified engine for increased performance. Vehicles manufactured before 1 January 2010 remain subject to previous restrictions, which include a restriction on engines larger than a V6, and cars that have a turbocharger or supercharger.
The P2 Probationary Driver Licence came into effect from 1 July 2008. For probationary drivers obtaining a P1 Probationary Licence after that date, their licence status will progress to a P2 Licence automatically provided they have had a good driving record for at least 12 months while holding the P1 Licence.The same P1 restrictions apply, except P2 drivers may tow trailers. As of 25 November 2013, P2 drivers must not use a mobile phone while driving, including hands-free phones. The peer passenger restriction does not apply to P2 drivers. They must display the white-on-green ‘P-plates’, rather than the red. If a person is over 21 when licensed they go straight onto the P2 licence for three years.
P2 licences last for 3 years, making the minimum age of receiving a full licence 22 years, up from 21 years for drivers who obtained their Probationary Licence before 1 July 2008. The minimum age for obtaining a P2 Licence is 19 years. All drivers who obtained their Probationary Licence before 1 July 2008 qualify as P2 drivers and must display the green ‘P’ plates.
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