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L- and P-plate restrictions by state

By Cameron Kirby, 07 Apr 2018 Car Advice

L- and P-plate restrictions by state

How learner and provisional drivers are restricted on the road in each state and territory in Australia.

Earning your Learner or Provisional license is an exciting time for any young driver and their family, but there are important restrictions that need to be adhered to.

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.*

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Each state and territory in Australia has a zero-tolerance rule for alcohol and drugs for both L- and P-Plate drivers.

ACT

  • 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.

Northern Territory

  • Learner and Provisional Licence holders must observe a maximum speed limit of 100km/h.

Queensland

  • 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.

South Australia

  • 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

  • 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.

Victoria

  • 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.

Western Australia

  • 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.