Because Australia’s road rules are enforced at a state level, there are slight variations on what restrictions are applied to young and new drivers depending on where they live.
Here’s a run through of key rules and regulations facing L- and P-drivers on the road, across the different states.*
Each state and territory in Australia has a zero-tolerance rule for alcohol and drugs for both L- and P-Plate drivers.
- Currently learner drivers cannot tow a trailer exceeding 750kg GVM
- P-plate drivers cannot tow another vehicle unless it is a trailer with a GVM of 750kg or less in the first 12 months of holding their license.
- If provisional drivers complete an optional Road Ready provisional licence course, they may have a 'PC' condition endorsed on their licence allowing them to remove their P-plates. Their demerit points allowance will also be increased by four points to a total of eight points.
- Radical new laws are being proposed in the ACT, but have not yet been passed and could affect the above regulations.
New South Wales
- 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.
- 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.
- Learner, P1 and P2 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 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.
- Learner and Provisional Licence holders must observe a maximum speed limit of 100km/h.
- Drivers on their L-plates can’t use a mobile phone of any type at any time. This includes hands-free, wireless headsets and speaker phones.
- If you are a learner driver under 25, your supervisor and passengers can’t use a mobile phone on loudspeaker while you are driving.
- If you are a P1 licence holder and a passenger is on a call, they cannot use loudspeaker.
- P1 licence holders are not allowed to use hands-free kits, wireless handsets, or loudspeaker functions. These restrictions don’t apply to P2 licence holders.
- Queensland has no restrictions on speed for L- and P-plate drivers
- If you hold a P1 licence, are under 25, and you are driving between 11pm and 5am you can only carry 1 passenger under the age of 21 who is not an immediate family member.
- Learner drivers must not exceed the 100km/h speed limit at any time, and must not use any function of a mobile phone.
- P1 licence holders must not use any mobile phone function while driving, including hands-free mode and Bluetooth technology or loud speaker operation.
- P1 drivers must not drive over 100 km/h even if the local speed limit exceeds 100 km/h
- Provisional drivers under 25 cannot drive between midnight and 5am, or drive with more than one passenger aged 16-20 (immediate family members exempt).
- P2 drivers must not drive over 100 km/h even if the local speed limit exceeds 100 km/h.
- Tasmania has two levels of learner driver, L1 and L2.
- L1 drivers cannot travel faster than 80km/h, tow another vehicle or trailer.
- L2 drivers cannot travel faster than 90km/h in 90km/h zones, 90km/h in 100km/h zones or 100 km/h in 110km/h zones.
- L2 drivers cannot tow another vehicle or trailer.
- P1 drivers cannot travel faster than 90km/h in 90km/h zones, 90km/h in 100km/h zones or 100 km/h in 110km/h zones.
- P2 drivers can drive at the speed limit, and tow trailers or another vehicle.
- Learner, P1 and P2 drivers must not use a mobile phone of any kind.
- Learner and P1 drivers must not tow another motor vehicle or trailer.
- P1 drivers cannot carry more than one peer passenger aged 16 to less than 22 years of age.
- Provisional driver's licence holders are not permitted to drive between midnight and 5:00 am for the first 6 months that they hold a driver's licence (with some exemptions).
* It’s important to note this story only deals with the restrictions placed on L- and P-plate drivers when on the road, and doesn’t entail a rundown of what tests are required to progress through the licencing system. While many states also have restrictions on provisional license holders driving ‘high-powered vehicles’ this also varies state by state, and is not included in this article.