Prohibited vehicles – definitions

Definition from 1 August 2014

Note: This information applies from 1 August 2014.

For guidance about which vehicles P1/P2 drivers can and cannot drive, you can go to the P1/P2 vehicles search. This search includes vehicles banned that are in the Roads and Maritime Services document Novice Driver- High Performance Vehicle Restrictions.

Provisional drivers are prohibited from driving high performance vehicles by Clause 32(2) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2008. The regulation defines three different types of high performance vehicle, and these are explained in more detail on this page.

1) Vehicles with a Power to Tare Mass Ratio (PMR) greater than 130kW/tonne

A vehicle's PMR is its Power divided by its Mass. Power and Mass are defined below.

The PMR is not rounded up or down, so even if a vehicle's PMR is just over 130kW/tonne, eg 130.01 kW/t, it is deemed to be a high performance vehicle.


Mass is measured in metric tonnes and is expressed to three decimal places, rounded to the nearest kilogram. The Mass used in this calculation is the Tare Mass that is specified by the vehicle manufacturer.  Tare Mass is defined in the Australian Design Rules.


Power is measured in kilowatts and is rounded to the nearest whole number. It is determined as follows:

  • For Electric-only vehicles, "Power" is as specified by the vehicle manufacturer
  • For Hybrid vehicles, “Power" is the combined maximum power supplied by the internal combustion engine and all auxiliary motors of the vehicle drive system as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. The maximum Power for an internal combustion engine in any such system is defined by the Net Engine Power as defined in the Australian Design Rules
  • For vehicles driven solely by internal combustion engines, "Power" is defined as the Net Engine Power in the Australian Design Rules and is measured at the engine's flywheel. This is specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

As part of a vehicle’s identification plate approval process, the vehicle’s manufacturer submits Tare Mass and Power data to the Commonwealth Government.  It is this data that is deemed the most reliable and is used whenever possible.

If a vehicle's Tare Mass or Power is not available from its manufacturer, or if the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) think that the manufacturer’s data may have changed after identification plate approval, RMS will try and use information from reliable secondary sources, such as vehicle data suppliers. If data are unavailable by these means, RMS may require specific information to be provided so that it can make a determination.

The Tare Mass and Power used in determining a vehicle’s high performance status are as described above.  Under no circumstances will a modification to a prohibited vehicle be allowed to increase its Tare Mass or decrease its Power, and to alter its status as a prohibited vehicle.

For example, it is not allowable to fit a bull bar or tow bar to a car and claim a Tare Mass greater than that supplied by the vehicle manufacturer.  For commercial vehicles, the addition of a nominal mass for a body or tray may be considered, but this is at the discretion of RMS.

Similarly, it is not allowable to detune an engine and claim a Power less than that supplied by the manufacturer.  Engines that have been detuned by the manufacturer prior to first registration may be considered, but this is at the discretion of RMS.

2) Vehicles that have had any modification made to their engine listed in any order in force under clause 76AB of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2007 that increases the power to mass ratio of the vehicle

Clause 76AB of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2007 allows Roads and Maritime to list significant modifications, which are modifications that could affect the levels of safety the vehicle gives its occupants. Significant modifications must be certified under the Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme. A vehicle that has had a significant modification to its engine is deemed to be a high performance vehicle as such modifications are done to enhance the vehicle’s performance, and create an increased risk to P-plate drivers.

A list of significant engine modification requiring certification is given in the Roads and Maritime publication Vehicle Standards Information 6 Light Vehicle Modifications.

3) Other vehicles listed in the Authority’s publication Novice Driver—High performance vehicle restrictions

In addition to vehicles with a PMR greater than 130kW/tonne or whose engine has been modified to increase their performance, there are a number of other vehicles whose performance capabilities can present a higher than normal risk to P-plate drivers, and these are also deemed to be high performance vehicles. There are no set rules for determining these vehicles, but typically, they are vehicles whose petrol engines have been highly tuned, or diesel engines with very high torque – the amount of torque a diesel engine produces is a better way to gauge its performance than its power output.

The status of these vehicles can be found out by accessing the P1/P2 vehicle search. They will also be listed in a dedicated publication – the Novice Driver - High Performance Vehicle Restrictions.

Definition applying until 31 July 2014

Note: This definition applied until 31 July 2014

The prohibited vehicle condition restricts provisional (P1 and P2) drivers from driving certain high performance vehicles. The condition applies to provisional licences issued on or after 11 July 2005. The scheme aims to prohibit young driver access to vehicles that are overrepresented in young driver crashes.

Prohibited vehicles are those with:

  • Eight or more cylinders.
  • A turbocharged engine (except diesel).
  • A supercharged engine (except diesel).
  • Engine performance modifications that require an engineers' certificate.
  • Certain high performance six cylinder engine vehicles or other vehicles as per this list (Novice Drivers - High Performance Vehicle Restrictions):
    • BMW M, M3 and Z4
    • Honda NSX
    • Nissan 350Z and 370Z (including private or 'grey' import variants eg. Infiniti G35, Infiniti G37, Skyline 350GT (V35), Skyline 370GT (V36))
    • All Porsches from 1994 models onwards (except diesel)
    • Mercedes Benz SLK350.
    • Exempted vehicles:
      • All turbocharged or supercharged diesel powered vehicles.
      • Suzuki Cappuccino 2D Cabriolet Turbo 3 698cc (1/01/1992 - 1/12/1997).
      • Daihatsu Copen L880 2D Convertible Turbo 4 659cc (1/10/2003- ).
      • Smart vehicles (all models).

The following vehicles are not prohibited vehicles and may be driven by provisional licence holders:

  • Suzuki Cappuccino 2D Cabriolet Turbo 3 698cc (released between 1/01/1992 - 1/12/1997).
  • Daihatsu Copen L880 2D Convertible Turbo 4 659cc (released from 1/10/2003).
  • Smart vehicles (all models).
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