Prohibited vehicles – definitions

Provisional P1 and P2 drivers are prohibited from driving high performance vehicles. These are the 3 different types of high performance vehicle.

Legislation on high performance vehicles

Provisional drivers are prohibited from driving high performance vehicles by Clause 36(2) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2017. The regulation defines 3 different types of high performance vehicle, and these are explained in more detail on this page.

Definitions

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

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

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

  • Electric-only vehicles: "Power" is as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • 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.
  • 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 Transport for NSW thinks that the manufacturer’s data may have changed after identification plate approval, Transport will try and use information from reliable secondary sources, such as vehicle data suppliers. If data are unavailable by these means, Transport 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 Transport.

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 Transport.

2) Vehicles that have had any modification made to their engine listed in any order in force under clause 83 of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017 that increases the power to mass ratio of the vehicle

Clause 83 of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017 allows Transport 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 Transport 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.

Which vehicles can I drive?

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

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