To obtain your driver learner licence, you need to be 16 years of age or older. You will need to attend a Service NSW centre to prove your identity and pass a Driver Knowledge Test (DKT).
Getting your learner licence
To get your learner licence you must:
- Be at least 16 years of age
- Pass a Driver Knowledge Test (DKT)
- Prove your identity
- Pass an eyesight test
- Pay the licence and test fees, unless you’re eligible for a concession.
Once you pay the required fees and pass the DKT, your photo will be taken. Depending on which location you attend, your licence card will either be handed over the counter or posted to you. If it’s posted, you’ll receive a temporary paper licence, which you can use to learn to drive, until your new card arrives.
Your learner licence is valid for five years. If you have not progressed to a P1 licence at the end of the five years, you can renew your licence, but you will need to pass the DKT again. See Renew or replace your driver licence for more information.
When you are issued with your learner licence, you will also receive a Learner Driver Log Book.
Rules for learner drivers
In addition to complying with the NSW Road Rules, you must:
- Only drive cars
- Be supervised at all times by the holder of a full (not learner or provisional) Australian driver licence
- Have L plates displayed (black L on an orange/yellow background) clearly at the front and back of the vehicle, on the outside (or an L sign on the roof) when driving. The letter L on the plate must not be hidden
- Observe a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h, and observe the posted speed limit where it is below 90km/h
- Not tow any other vehicle
- Not exceed zero blood alcohol concentration. This means you cannot have any alcohol in your system when you drive a vehicle. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of drugs
- Not supervise another learner driver
- Only carry the number of passengers that can be properly seated in seats and restrained by approved seat belts or child restraints
- Only drive vehicles that have a seat belt fitted to the driver's position, and you must wear the seat belt
- Not use any mobile phone, including hands-free devices or loud speaker, while driving, or while your vehicle is stopped, but not parked.
- If in Sydney, not drive in Parramatta Park or Centennial Park.
Failure to comply is an offence and carries heavy penalties, including loss of licence.
You must comply with these NSW rules when you are driving interstate or overseas. You should also make yourself aware of any licensing or driving laws that another jurisdiction may apply to you as a visiting novice driver.
Demerit points apply to learner drivers. Your learner licence will be suspended or refused, if you reach or exceed 4 demerit points in a three year period.
Practical driving experience - Learner Driver Log Book
Research indicates that learner drivers who increase their supervised on-road experience can reduce their crash risk by 30 per cent, in the first two years of solo driving. Learner drivers under supervision have a very low involvement in crashes. It is only when they begin to drive solo that their involvement in crashes increases.
Your learner driver log book allows you and your supervising driver(s) to record your driving experience. Take care of your log book. If you need a replacement log book, you will need to attend a registry or service centre and pay a replacement fee.
You must log at least 120 hours of supervised driving, including a minimum of 20 hours of night driving, before you can attempt the driving test. Night driving hours are between sunset and sunrise.
For every one hour structured driving lesson you complete with a licensed Driving Instructor, you can record three hours driving experience in your Log Book. A maximum of 10 hours of lessons will be accepted and recorded as 30 hours driving experience.
This doesn’t mean that driving lessons with an instructor are compulsory, or that you should stop having lessons once you reach the 10 hour limit, if you feel you’d benefit from more lessons.
Driving lessons at night (between sunset and sunrise) count for only one hour of night driving. The other two hours are added to your day driving hours.
- Log it - Be sure to record these sessions in your Structured Lesson Record Keeper log book insert.
You do not have to complete a Learner Driver Log Book if you:
- Are over 25 years old
- Previously held a NSW or interstate driver licence, other than a learner licence
- Previously held an overseas licence, other than a learner licence
- Hold an overseas licence, other than a learner licence, and are issued with a learner licence after failing one driving test
- Are specifically exempted by Roads and Maritime Services.
Recognition of log book hours recorded in another state or territory
If you’ve held a learner licence in another Australian state or territory, Roads and Maritime will recognise hours recorded in an interstate learner driver log book, as long as you provide appropriate documentation.
Practice drives planner
The Practice drives planner is available for supervisors, parents and learner drivers to plan on-road driving experiences. The weekly calendar-style planner can be put up on the fridge or on the wall, so that everyone gets a reminder to negotiate dates and times for practice drives.
The planner can also stimulate discussion between the supervisor and learner driver about where to drive, and what skills to practice. It helps when negotiating and developing a driving partnership. Learning goals and learning content can be found in the Learner Driver Log Book.
- Plan for practice on a variety of types of roads with different levels of traffic
- Ensure the learner driver is getting variety in the time of day
- Make sure you plan some night drives, preferably later in the process.
Safer Drivers Course
The Safer Drivers Course helps young drivers on their Ls prepare for driving solo when they graduate to provisional licences.
The course teaches learners how to reduce road risks and includes ways to cope when you have your mates in the car or if you're running late by developing safe driving behaviour.
It's also designed to help you understand more about speed management, gap selection, hazard awareness and safe following distances, which your parents, supervising drivers or professional driving lessons may not have covered.
Earn credit hours
As well as becoming a safer driver, you can earn a bonus of 20 hours of log book credit once you complete the course, so you only need to finish 100 hours of supervised driving outside the course.
The course has been designed for a learner to attend once, and therefore, the 20 hours of bonus log book credit will only be deducted once.
If you also take 10 hours of professional driving lessons, you’ll receive a further 20 hours of credit on top of the 10 hours you drive during those lessons.
|Learner driver||Credit||Supervised driving hours||Logbook total|
|Safer Drivers Course||20hrs||100hrs||120hrs|
|10hrs of professional lessons||20hrs*||100hrs||120hrs|
|Safer Drivers Course and 10hrs professional lessons||40hrs||80hrs||120hrs|
* This is in addition to the 10 hours spent driving during the lessons. Professional lessons totalling more than 10 hours will not provide additional credit.
To complete a course, you must be on your Ls , aged under 25 and have completed at least 50 log book hours of driving.
The course costs $140 and includes a three-hour group discussion with other learners and a two-hour in-vehicle coaching session with another learner.
The course is available in almost 250 locations across NSW.
To book a Safer Drivers course, search for a Safer Drivers Course provider and contact the provider directly.
Progressing to a P1
Once you have held your learner licence for at least 12 months and completed at
least 120 hours of driving practice, including 20 hours of night driving (unless you’re exempt from this requirement), you can progress to the next licence stage, and apply for a provisional P1 licence.
Restricted P1 licence pilot
If you’re under 25 and live in a remote area, you may be eligible to apply for your P1 licence after logging only 50 hours of driving practice. See Restricted P1 licence pilot for information.