More cars to choose from for P plate drivers

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If you’re a P1 or P2 licence holder and you’ve had your eye on that shiny Volkswagen Golf TSI – we’ve got some good news for you.

From 1 August 2014, there are new rules allowing P plate drivers to drive a wider range of turbo, supercharged or V8 vehicles. That’s around an extra 6500 vehicle models you will be able to choose from.

Some vehicles are still banned, but these are high performance and risky in your first few years of driving.

What vehicles are banned?

The technical answer is that P platers are banned from driving:

  • Vehicles with a power-to-mass ratios above 130 kilowatts per tonne (based on tare mass)
  • Vehicles with significantly modified engines
  • Other vehicles that are classified as high performance because they have characteristics like fast acceleration
  • Please go to the Prohibited vehicles- definitions page to see how the PMR is calculated.

How do I know what vehicles I can drive?

A P1/P2 vehicle search tool is available and shows you if a vehicle is legal or not to drive.

To use the P1/P2 vehicle search tool all you need to do is enter the vehicle’s specifications like make, model, badge and year. Hot tip – the more fields you enter, the easier it will be for you to find the vehicle.

Why have the rules changed?

Until now, high performance vehicles were measured based on the number of cylinders a vehicle has or if a vehicle was turbocharged or supercharged.

These days, turbochargers and superchargers are usually used for fuel efficiency, and as a result, not all V8s, turbos and supercharged vehicles are high performance vehicles.

The vehicles that P platers are allowed to drive from 1 August 2014 are considered to have a low or moderate performance, and they have modern, effective safety features.


With the release of an extra 6500 models to choose from, exemptions will only be needed in exceptional circumstances. However if you have a genuine need to drive a banned vehicle - for example you need it for work purposes, you can still apply for an exemption. Apply for an exemption by filling in the exemption form (PDF) and taking it to a registry or service centre.

I obtained my P plate licence before 1 August 2014, how do the new rules affect me?

If you already have your P plate licence, you can continue to drive any of the vehicles you were allowed to drive before the 1 August 2014 change as well as the other vehicles that are now available under the new scheme.

There are a very small number of vehicles that P platers could drive before 1 August 2014 that will now be banned. But don’t worry if this is a vehicle that you currently drive because if you had your P plate licence before 1 August 2014 and drive a vehicle that was allowed but will be banned from 1 August 2014 you can continue to drive that vehicle.

If you currently have an exemption to drive a banned vehicle and the vehicle is still banned after 1 August 2014, you will still require an exemption to drive the vehicle but you won’t need to apply for a new exemption.

If you currently have an exemption for a vehicle that won’t be banned for P platers after 1 August 2014, the exemption will no longer apply and you won’t have to carry it with you.

It’s a win-win

Your safety is always our first priority and these changes are a win for all road users because it means you can choose from more vehicles to drive, and benefit from their safety features.

If you can’t find a vehicle in the search tool and you’re unsure whether a vehicle is banned phone 13 22 13 or use the online customer feedback form.

For more detailed information about the new rules visit the Roads and Maritime Services website.