Getting your P1 licence

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Getting your P1 licence is an exciting step towards getting your full licence, but taking the test is a serious matter so you'll need to be prepared.

To move from your Ls to your Ps you need to pass a practical driving test. During the test, a Roads and Maritime Services testing officer will sit in the car with you as you drive. They will provide you with instructions about where to drive and ask you to perform specific driving tasks. At the end of the test, they will tell you whether you’ve passed or not.

A learner can have a go at the driving test after logging at least 120 hours at the wheel and holding their learner licence for at least 12 months. You also have to be at least 17 years old.

All of your practice so far should have been preparing you for the driving test. Your log book contains the tasks and skills you need to complete to be confident in the big test. Of course, plenty of practice is essential. If you don’t feel confident – rack up some more hours at the wheel.

Make sure you get a copy of A Guide to the Driving Test (PDF, 753Kb) which you can download online or pick one up from any registry or service centre. This useful booklet gives you info about what to expect during the test, as well as reminders about safe driving, driving skills and more.

Once you have read the guide and you feel ready, you can book your test.

Here are the key things to do to prepare for the big day to avoid any disappointment or delays:

  • Book your test online, in person at a registry or service centre or by calling 13 22 13. This is essential
  • Make sure you bring your log book – completed and signed by your supervising driver. This is also a must
  • Prepare the car that you’re going to be tested in: make sure it’s registered, clean the windows, make sure there’s enough air in the tyres, check that all your lights work, adjust the mirrors and seats and ensure there’s enough petrol in the tank
  • Arrive early. If you’re more than five minutes late you’ll probably miss out
  • Bring proof of identity and a way to pay for your P1 licence.

When you’ve passed

After you’ve finished celebrating your new independence, you need to get your head around a few things. First, you need to realise that P1 drivers are at the highest risk of crashing. Go to the Driving section for heaps of tips on safe driving, including how to negotiate those first few weeks alone at the wheel.

Next, you need to grasp the list of special rules that P1 drivers have to follow when they’re on the road. Get familiar with this list to avoid a hefty fine or losing your licence.

  • Have P plates (red P on white background) displayed clearly at the front and rear of the car when driving. You can’t put them on the inside of the windows – they must be fixed to the exterior of the car. If towing a trailer, a P plate must be on the back of the trailer
  • P1 drivers will have their licence automatically suspended for at least three months for ANY speeding offence. The minimum penalty is 4 demerit points, a fine and three month licence suspension
  • ALL mobile phone use is banned for P1 drivers and provisional motorcycle or scooter riders – this applies to all use, including hands-free sets and phones set to speaker. The penalty is 3 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 will only be able to carry one passenger under the age of 21 between 11pm and 5am unless they apply for an exemption. The penalty is 3 demerit points and a fine
  • Not exceed zero blood alcohol concentration (in effect, this means you cannot drink before driving)
  • Observe a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h
  • Observe towing restrictions (you are only allowed to tow light trailers of up to 250 kilograms unloaded weight)
  • Not accumulate more than 3 demerit points
  • Be restricted to driving an automatic transmission car (if that is what you drove for the test)
  • Not supervise a learner driver
  • Not upgrade the licence to a higher class
  • Only carry the number of passengers that can be properly seated in seats and restrained by approved seatbelts or child restraints
  • Only drive a vehicle with a seatbelt fitted to the driver’s position and wear the seatbelt
  • Not drive with any passengers in or on the boot of the vehicle.

There are also restrictions on the kinds of vehicles that can be driven by P platers. See Prohibited vehicles for P1 drivers.

Ready to move on?

Your P1 licence is issued for 18 months. After 12 months you can have a go at the Hazard Perception Test – or HPT. If you pass this test, you can get your P2 licence. See Getting your P2 licence.