Driver Knowledge Tests

How to get a driver licence in the Graduated Licensing Scheme

The process for getting your driver licence is:

  1. Pass the Driver Knowledge Test or DKT (you can practice on this website for free)
  2. Learner licence period
  3. Pass the Hazard Perception Test (HPT)
  4. Pass the practical driving test
  5. P1 licence period
  6. P2 licence period
  7. Full licence

This gradual increase in responsibility and reduction in restrictions matches your increasing skill due to having more experience behind the wheel.

Limits for driving on your Ls and Ps

Speed limits

Learner (L) = 90km/h

Provisional P1 = 90km/h

Provisional P2 = 100km/h

Penalties for speeding

  • More than 30km/h over the limit means immediate suspension and licence confiscation by police
  • L and P1 drivers that get four demerit points through speeding will lose their licence for at least three months
  • P2 drivers will lose their licence for at least three months if they are penalised twice for speeding

Vehicle restrictions

P1 and P2 drivers are banned from driving high-performance vehicles that have:

  • Power to tare mass ratios (commonly called power-to-weight ratios) of greater than 130kW per tonne or,
  • Modified engines that need to be approved by an engineer (e.g. adding a turbo to a naturally aspirated vehicle) or,
  • Other high-performance classifications (for example, chips that increase the output power).

Approved vehicles are listed here and there is more information from Roads and Maritime about prohibited vehicles here.

The scope of vehicles is huge, but the choice of banned vehicles is sometimes confusing. You can drive a 1983 Bentley Mulsanne with a 6.8-litre V8, a 2010 Volkswagen Golf R32 (quite a quick car), or a 2017 Holden Commodore SV6. But, you can’t drive an HSV Clubsport, the 1.3-litre 2016 Abarth 695, or a Mazda 3 MPS (a fundamentally similar car to the Golf R32).

Passenger limits

Learner licence holders are not permitted to drive with passengers unless the supervisor agrees.

P1 drivers under 25 are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger under 21 between the hours of 11pm and 5am. P1 or P2 drivers who are issued with a new licence after a period of being disqualified from driving, will for 12 months only be allowed to carry one passenger.

Zero blood alcohol

There’s a zero blood alcohol limit for all learner and provisional drivers.

Mobile phones

Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders must not use a mobile phone at all while driving, including in hands-free mode. Learner, P1 and P2 licence holders must be parked out of the line of traffic to use a mobile phone in any way (this doesn’t mean stopped at the lights).

Being caught using a mobile phone means 4 demerit points, therefore an instant three-month licence suspension for L and P1 drivers. P2 drivers can accrue 7 demerit points, so will only have 3 remaining.

Towing limits

Learner = not permitted to tow a trailer or to drive a vehicle that’s being towed

P1 = trailer must have an unladen mass of 250kg or less, and it must display a P1 plate.

Automatic vehicles

P1 licence holders who passed the practical driving test using an automatic car (including CVT and DSG-style gearboxes) will be restricted to driving automatics until they get a P2 or full licence. Passing a test in a manual gearbox vehicle lifts this restriction.

Displaying L and P plates

All L, P1 and P2 drivers must display the relevant plate on both the front and back of the vehicle. The plates must not be hidden. Learner drivers can have their licence suspended if they drive unsupervised.

Driving and riding in other states

Whichever state you drive in as an L, P1 or P2 driver, you must obey the licence conditions and restrictions of the state they issued your licence.

Drivers who attained a licence before 20 November 2017

Transitional arrangements apply if you got your L, P1 or P2 licence before 20 November 2017. The following is from Roads and Maritime:

P1 drivers who held a P1 licence before Monday 20 November 2017

  • Once you have held your P1 licence for 12 months, you will be required to complete the Hazard Perception Test to progress to a P2 licence.
  • Once you progress to a P2 licence, if you receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour, you must stay on your P2 licence for an extra 6 months.
  • You will not need to complete the Driver Qualification Test to graduate from a P2 licence to a full licence.

P2 drivers who held a P2 licence before Monday 20 November 2017

  • Once you have held your P2 licence for 24 months, you will be required to complete the Driver Qualification Test to graduate to a full licence.
  • You will not be subject to the 6-month tenure extension if you receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour.

P2 drivers who renew their licence on or after Monday 20 November 2017 will not have to complete the Driver Qualification Test to progress to a full licence, but will be subjected to the new tenure extension if they receive a suspension due to unsafe driving behaviour.

Find more information on your licence conditions on the Roads and Maritime Services website.

Learner drivers who held a learner licence before Monday 20 November 2017

  • You must successfully complete the Hazard Perception Test before taking a driving test.
  • To be eligible for the Hazard Perception Test:
    • Learners under the age of 25 must have held their licence for at least 10 months.
    • Learners over the age of 25 are not required to have held their Learner licence for 10 months.
  • Once you have held your learner licence for 12 months and successfully completed the Hazard Perception Test, you must pass a driving test to progress to a P1 licence.
  • Once you progress to a P2 licence, if you receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour, you must stay on your licence for an extra 6 months.
  • You will not need to complete the Driver Qualification Test to graduate from a P2 licence to a full licence.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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