Restrictions for L and P plate drivers

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As L and P platers are still developing their driving abilities, they have different restrictions to other more experienced drivers.

Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme from 20 November 2017

Changes apply to the testing you need to progress through the licensing stages. In addition, P2 drivers who get suspended for unsafe driving will end up adding an extra 6 months to the time they need to spend on their P2 licence. Find out more.

It's important that you understand the restrictions on learners and P1 and P2 drivers so you don't get fined or worse, lose your licence.

A reminder of some driver restrictions

  • P1 drivers and provisional motorcycle riders will have their licence suspended for at least 3 months for ANY speeding offence.
    Penalty: The minimum is 4 demerit points, a fine and 3 month licence suspension.
  • ALL mobile phone use is banned for Learner, P1 and P2 drivers and motorcycle riders – this applies to all use, including hands-free sets and phones set to speaker.
    Penalty: 4 demerit points and a fine. Double demerit points apply to mobile phone offences during all holiday periods such as long weekends, Christmas, New Year and Easter.
  • P1 drivers under the age of 25 can only carry 1 passenger under the age of 21 between 11pm and 5am (there are some exemptions).
    Penalty: 3 demerit points and a fine.
  • L and P plates have to be attached to the OUTSIDE of the car – you can't stick the plates on the inside of your window.
    Penalty: 2 demerit points and a fine.
  • Extensions to P2 licences when suspended for unsafe driving. Provisional P2 drivers who receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour must stay on their licence for an extra 6 months for every suspension they receive. For example P2 licence holders getting a demerit point suspension, will have to have the P2 licence for the normal 24 months, but will have to stay on the P2 for an extra 6 months, before being able to apply for an unrestricted licence.

You may think you're being punished for the behaviour of a handful of hoons, but take a look at the stats: only 13% of all licensed drivers are young – but they are involved in more than a quarter of all fatal crashes.

Here's some more info about why these restrictions are put in place:


Speeding is the number one cause of fatal crashes on our roads.

It's been shown time and time again that simply slowing down and driving safely for the conditions is the best way to reduce road crashes.

Research has shown that even a 5km/h increase in speed can double the risk of an injury or crash. The risk doubles again for each additional 5km/h travelled.

Drivers travelling at high speed also have less time to react to dangerous situations and in the event of a crash are likely to receive more serious injuries.

Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of all speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes between 2005 and 2009 were aged between 17 and 20 years of age – 19% were aged 21 to 25 years old.

So slow down.

Mobile phones

Using a mobile while driving can increase the risk of a collision by 4 times, according to several studies. Sending a text message when driving is even worse.

Surprisingly, a hands-free device is no better. But why is this so?

Research shows that the distraction of using a mobile phone has two aspects – firstly there's the physical distraction of fiddling with the handset and taking your eyes off the road to check the screen. Secondly, there's the "cognitive" distraction – this basically means taking your mind off the driving task to concentrate on your phone or the conversation.

This issue has been the subject of a lot of scientific studies. The Institute of Road Safety in the Netherlands has summarised the research. It found: "The vast majority of studies report that hands free phoning does not have a significant safety advantage over handheld phoning." For younger and inexperienced drivers, the risks are even greater. This is why using hands-free phones is not allowed for L, P1 and P2 drivers.

It's easy to avoid getting pinged for using your mobile phone. Just turn it off and retrieve your messages when you've finished driving.

Passengers late at night

The restriction on carrying more than one young passenger late at night (11pm – 5am) is designed to remove distractions for P1 drivers.

Horrific crashes involving cars full of young people are all too common. P1 drivers are involved in fatal crashes late at night and early in the morning at a rate which is totally out of proportion to their numbers on the road.

Roads and Maritime Services can grant an exemption from peer passenger restrictions if exceptional circumstances are demonstrated.

Check the Roads and Maritime website for more information on driver licence conditions and to download the exemption form (PDF, 308Kb).

L and P plates

L and P plates must now be displayed on the exterior of cars. Police have reported that too many young drivers have been caught hiding their L and P plates in obscure positions on dashboards. It is important that other drivers can identify inexperienced drivers on the road.

Prohibited vehicles

Prohibited vehicle restrictions apply to novice drivers. This means that holders of a provisional licence are not allowed to drive prohibited vehicles.

More information on prohibited vehicles.