Provisional P1 licence

If you’re 17 or older, and meet all the requirements, you can apply for a provisional P1 licence.

If you have held your learner licence for at least 10 months, you can attempt the Hazard Perception Test (HPT).

Once you have passed the HPT and held your learner licence for at least 12 months, and completed your Learner Driver Log Book, you can attempt the practical driving test.

When you pass the driving test, you’ll be issued a provisional P1 licence.

Drivers aged 25 and over can attempt the HPT and driving test as soon as they are ready. They are not required to complete the learner driver log book.

Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme from 20 November 2017

Changes apply for L, P1 and P2 drivers - find out how this will affect you.

Getting your P1 licence

To apply for your P1 licence, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Have pass a Hazard Perception Test (HPT) - you must have held your learner licence for at least 10 months before you can do the HPT
  • Have held a learner licence for at least 12 months, unless you’re 25 or older
  • Have logged at least 120 hours driving time in your learner driver log book, including at least 20 hours of night driving, unless you’re 25 or older. If you use a digital log book app, you must use the submit button to send your driving details direct to Roads and Maritime before you book a driving test.
  • Prove your identity
  • Pass an eyesight test 
  • Pay the licence and test fees, unless you’re eligible for a concession
  • Pass the driving test.

After you pay the required fees and pass the driving test, 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 drive with until your new card arrives.

Your P1 licence is valid for 18 months. If you haven't progressed to a P2 licence at the end of the 18 months, you can renew your licence. You don't need to take the driving test again.

Restricted P1 licence pilot – remote areas

If you’re under 25 and live in a specified remote area, you can apply for a restricted P1 licence after you’ve logged only 50 hours practical driving experience (including at least 10 hours of night driving) in your Learner Driver Log Book.

The restricted P1 licence is designed to allow you to drive to work, education and medical related appointments. After six months, the restricted conditions will automatically expire, and the standard P1 rules will apply for the rest of your P1 licence period.

The restricted P1 licence is a pilot project aiming to help young people living in remote areas access health, education and work opportunities by providing easier access to their provisional licence, under strict conditions.

Conditions on a restricted P1 licence

In addition to the usual rules that apply to a P1 licence, the restricted P1 licence may only be used for the following reasons:

Trip purpose Where and when you can drive
Education
  • To or from education facilities, institutions or courses
  • As part of an education course
  • To enrol in an education course
  • To, from, and in the course of vocational training.
Employment
  • To, from, and in the course of paid employment
  • Seeking paid employment (eg a job interview)
  • To, from, and in the course of formal community service (eg Rural Fire Service or SES).
Medical appointments and/or treatment
  • To or from medical or health support, for yourself or another person.

Note: You’re allowed to take a reasonable break during any of these trips for food, fuel and rest.

Who’s eligible?

You can apply for the restricted P1 licence if:

  • You live in Brewarrina, Walgett, Bourke, Broken Hill, Balranald or Hay
  • You’ve completed at least 50 hours on-road supervised driving, including at least 10 hours of night driving 
  • You ahve passed a Hazarrd Perception Test (HPT) after holding your learner licence for 10 months
  • You’ve held your learner licence for 12 months
  • You’ve passed the driving test.

How to apply

If you’re eligible, you can book the HPT and driving test by calling 13 22 13, or visiting the local registry or service centre in the pilot areas.

Rules for P1 drivers

In addition to complying with the NSW Road Rules, you must:

  • Only drive cars. You cannot apply to upgrade your licence to a higher class
  • Display P plates (red P on a white background) clearly on the front and back of the vehicle, on the outside. The letter P on the plate must not be hidden. If you’re towing a trailer, a P plate must be on the back of the trailer
  • Observe the posted speed limit and never drive over the maximum speed limit of 90 km/h
  • Only tow trailers up to 250 kilograms of unloaded weight. You must display a P plate (red P on a white background) on the back of the trailer while towing
  • Not have any alcohol in your system when you drive a vehicle. It’s also illegal to drive under the influence of drugs
  • Not supervise a learner driver
  • Ensure all occupants, including yourself, are in a seat with a seatbelt or an approved restraint fitted, with each passenger using the seatbelt or restraint
  • Not use any mobile phones, including hand free devices or loudspeaker, while driving or while your vehicle is stopped but not parked
  • Only drive automatic transmission vehicles, or clutchless manual vehicles, if you took your driving test in this type of vehicle. Your licence card will show the A034 condition on the front.

Failure to follow these rules 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.

As an example, Victoria has a rule that prohibits certain P1 licence holders from driving with more than one passenger at any time.

Demerit points

Demerit points apply to P1 drivers. Your P1 licence will be suspended or refused if you reach or exceed 4 demerit points.

Speeding offences

If you commit any speeding offence your P1 licence will be suspended for at least 3 months. An additional suspension or refusal period will apply for any excessive speed offence (more than 30km/h over the speed limit).

Passenger conditions

As a P1 licence holder, there are special conditions regarding the passengers you can carry:

  • Peer passenger condition: If you’re under 25 and hold a P1 licence, you must not drive a vehicle with more than one passenger (other than the driver) who is under 21, between 11pm and 5am
  • One passenger condition: If you’ve been disqualified for any driving offence, committed on or after 11 July 2005, once you return from the disqualification period you must not carry more than one passenger at any time while driving. This condition will apply for 12 months

You may apply for an exemption by attending a registry or service centre in person, completing the P1/P2 passenger or vehicle exemption form and paying the application fee.

An exemption from the peer passenger condition may be granted if:

  • Your employment requires you to transport passengers between 11pm and 5am, and more than one of these passengers is, or is likely to be, under 21
  • You can demonstrate a need to drive certain immediate family members between 11pm and 5am, and there are no alternative options
  • You volunteer in community service work (eg Lifeline counselling) that requires the transport of passengers between 11pm and 5am, and more than one of these passengers is, or is likely to be, under 21.

Exemptions from the one passenger condition will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. You must provide reasons why your situation is exceptional.

If an exemption is granted, it will be limited to specific circumstances such as employment, and may also be limited to certain vehicles.

You must notify Roads and Maritime within 14 days if you have changed any circumstances which affect your exemption, including if you no longer require the exemption, or if the exemption letter needs replacing. A further fee may apply.

More information

See the Frequently asked questions, or contact us for more information.

Prohibited vehicles

Prohibited vehicle conditions apply to provisional licence holders to keep novice drivers safe on our roads.

From 1 August 2014, a high performance vehicle is defined as a vehicle which:

Please go to the Prohibited vehicles- definitions page to see how the PMR is calculated.

Note: An exception from the prohibited vehicles condition applies if:

  1. You obtained a provisional licence before 1 Aug 2014 and continue to hold that licence, and
  2. The vehicle you are driving is now prohibited under the above definition, but was not previously prohibited under the previous definition.

You must not drive a banned vehicle unless you have been issued with an exemption.

You may apply for an exemption by attending a registry or service centre in person, completing the P1/P2 passenger or vehicle exemption form and paying the application fee.

An exemption from the prohibited vehicle condition may be granted if:

  • A prohibited vehicle needs to be driven for genuine employment purposes
  • A 4-wheel-drive vehicle with power to tare mass ratio (PMR) greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne is required by a country driver who has no practical alternative

If an exemption is granted, you must carry the exemption letter issued by Roads and Maritime while driving the vehicle.

You must notify Roads and Maritime within 14 days if you have changed any circumstances which affect your exemption, including if you no longer require the exemption, or if the exemption letter needs replacing. A further fee may apply.

Need help?

For guidance about which vehicles you can and cannot drive, enter a vehicle's details into the P1/P2 vehicle search.

For more information, please see the Frequently asked questions, or contact us. You can also read the announcement by the Minister for Roads and Freight.

Definitions

See Prohibited vehicles - definitions for detailed information and definitions of terms related to prohibited vehicles.

Progressing to a P2

Once you’ve held your P1 licence for at least 12 months, you can progress to the next licence stage and apply for a provisional P2 licence. You need to hold your P2 licence for at least 2 years (24 months) before you can upgrade to an unrestricted licence.

If your licence is suspended

Any period that your P1 licence is suspended is not counted towards your P2 licence. This means that if your licence is suspended, you must hold your P1 licence for an additional period equal to the suspension, before you can apply for a P2 licence.

Court disqualification

If a court disqualifies you from driving while you're on your P1 licence, your licence will be cancelled immediately and permanently cancel your licence. In this case, the time you’ve accumulated is forfeited. This means that when the disqualification period ends, you’ll have to apply for a new P1 licence, and complete the 12 months again before you can apply for a P2 licence.

Liquor Act offences

It’s an offence under section 129 of the Liquor Act 2007 to use false documents to gain access to licensed premises or to purchase alcohol. If you’re convicted of such an offence while holding a P1 licence, you’ll be required to hold your P1 licence for an additional six months, therefore 18 months in total.

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