Licence = contract between you and society administered by RMS and NSW police.

Obligations of licence holders

Drivers must:

  • Understand the road rules and obey the laws
  • Understand society’s concerns to reduce the impact of traffic on the environment and use roads efficiently
  • Show they can drive safely and responsibly
  • Pay a licence fee to maintain the road system

Traffic offences can break the contract. Additional penalties including fines, disqualification or suspension and even imprisonment can be imposed based on the seriousness of the offence.

A person under 18 who uses a fake ID to enter licensed premises may have their provisional licence extended by 6 months.

Bribing people is against the law

It is illegal to try to bribe people. Penalties include fines and imprisonment.

The licensing system

The licensing system aims to ensure:

  • Travel on roads is safe, efficient and environmentally friendly
  • All drivers have the required knowledge, skills and fitness
  • Penalties are imposed on those who do not obey the law

Having the correct licence

You need the correct licence to drive. The licence must be:

  • Carried with you while driving
  • Current, not expired, cancelled or suspended
  • The correct class for the vehicle you’re driving
  • A NSW licence if you’ve resided here for more than 3 months
  • From another state if you are an interstate visitor
  • From another country if you are an international visitor
  • In English or if not, you must carry a translation or International Driving Permit

You must not drive if a court has disqualified you or RMS has suspended your visiting driver privileges.

Driving without a licence

Breaking these rules may incur heavy penalties. There is also a penalty for allowing an unlicensed person to drive your vehicle – so check.

When your licence is checked

Police will check your licence is correct if you are involved in a crash or are pulled over for an offence or breath test.

The Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS)

The GLS is based on research and aims to prepare inexperienced drivers to be safe and efficient on the road. New drivers must pass 3 stages (Ls, red Ps and green Ps) before a full licence. This process requires 36 months’ experience and passing 4 tests.

The first test is the Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) – a 45 question multiple-choice test with 3 options to choose in each question. The test covers all content in the Road Users’ Handbook. The questions are randomly selected from a bank of approximately 600 (that you can download and read).

  • 15 questions are general driver knowledge
  • At least 12 must be correct
  • If you get 4 of these questions wrong the test will terminate
  • 30 are road safety questions (including 10 traffic sign questions)
  • At least 29 must be correct
  • If you get 2 of these questions wrong the test will terminate

People caught cheating on the test will immediately fail and will be banned from taking the test for 6 weeks.

Licence types

Learner licence

Class C (car) learner licence requires you to be over 16, pass the DKT and pay a fee before you are issued a 5 year licence. People under 25 are required to complete 120 hours (20 hours at night) driving and hold their licence for a minimum of 12 months before they can go for their red Ps.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Zero (no alcohol in your system)
Demerit points 4 points in a 3-year period
Plate display L plates (black L on a yellow background) must be displayed clearly on the exterior of the front and back of the vehicle (or an L sign on the roof)
Maximum speed limit 90km/h
Supervision Full Australian licence holder, who is under the 0.05 BAC limit for that licence, must sit in front passenger seat at all times
Towing Not allowed
Location restrictions Not allowed in Parramatta Park, Centennial Park or Moore Park in Sydney
Mobile phone Not allowed unless vehicle is parked
Passenger limits Only carry passengers who can be properly seated in seats and restrained by approved seat belts or restraints
Licence class Only applies to C class (car)

 

Provisional P1 licence (red Ps)

Issued for 18 months after passing a driving test. Must be held for minimum 12 months before you can go for green Ps. Can transfer to red Ps from similar interstate or international licence held for less than 12 months.

Suspension or cancellation of red Ps

Red Ps will be suspended for at least 3 months (which doesn’t count towards minimum 12 month holding period) if you lose 4 demerit points or get any speeding offence. If cancelled, the period before the cancellation doesn’t count towards minimum 12 months requirement. Cancellation by a court for a serious driving offence may result in a one-passenger restriction.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Zero (no alcohol in your system)
Demerit points 4 points
Plate display Plates must be displayed clearly on the exterior of the front and back of the vehicle
Maximum speed limit 90km/h
Towing Max = trailer of 250kg unloaded weight
Supervision Not allowed to supervise a learner
Location restrictions Not allowed in Parramatta Park, Centennial Park or Moore Park in Sydney
Mobile phone Not allowed unless vehicle is parked
Passenger limits Drivers under 25 are restricted to one passenger under 21 from 11pm to 5 am
Licence class Only applies to C class (car)
Transmission If tested in automatic, can only drive automatic
Vehicles Must not drive vehicle with:

  • 8 or more cylinders (diesel exempt)
  • Turbo or supercharged engine (diesel exempt)
  • Modifications that increase engine performance
  • Any other vehicle identified by RMS

Provisional P2 licence (green Ps)

Issued for 30 months after passing the Hazard Perception Test. Green Ps must be held for minimum 24 months before getting your full licence. Can transfer to green Ps from similar interstate or international licence held for more than 1 year but less than 3 years.

You may upgrade the class of your licence to a maximum of Heavy Rigid subject to specific requirements.

Suspension or cancellation of green Ps

Green Ps will be suspended for at least 3 months (which doesn’t count for the 24 month holding period) if you lose 7 demerit points. If cancelled, the period before the cancellation doesn’t count towards minimum 24 months requirement. Cancellation by a court for a serious driving offence may result in a one-passenger restriction.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Zero (no alcohol in your system)
Demerit points 7 points
Plate display Plates must be displayed clearly on the exterior of the front and back of the vehicle
Maximum speed limit 100km/h
Supervision Not allowed to supervise a learner
Mobile phone Allowed for calls and audio only if securely mounted and automated audio device is used. Touching the phone while driving is illegal
Vehicles Must not drive vehicle with:

  • 8 or more cylinders (diesel exempt)
  • Turbo or supercharged engine (diesel exempt)
  • Modifications that increase engine performance
  • Any other vehicle identified by RMS

 

Full, unrestricted licence

Issued for varied periods after passing the Driver Qualification Test. Suspension on this licence will occur if you get 13 or more demerit points in a 3 year period.

Licence classes

Type of licence shows experience.

Class of licence shows the vehicles you’re qualified to drive.

Special requirements

Vehicles that are heavier, larger or can carry more passengers require more experience and skill and so have requirements including:

  • Medical assessment
  • Eyesight test
  • Minimum holding periods for lower licence classes
  • Specific knowledge tests
  • Driving test or competency-based assessment

Motorcycle rider licence

Study Motorcycle Riders’ Handbook and complete pre-learner training course before taking the rider knowledge test.

National heavy vehicle training licence

Magenta licence applicable to HR, HC and MC classes

NSW licence classes

Car (C)

  • Less than 4.5t Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)
  • Up to 12 adults including driver
  • Any tractor or car-based motor tricycle

Rider (R)

  • Any motorcycle or motor tricycle

Light Rigid (LR)

  • Less than 8t GVM
  • More than 12 adults
  • Towed trailer less than 9t GVM

Medium Rigid (MR)

  • 2 axles and more than 8t GVM
  • Towed trailer less than 9t GVM

Heavy Rigid (HR)

  • 3 or more axles and more than 8t GVM
  • Towed trailer less than 9t GVM
  • Articulated (bendy) buses

Heavy Combination (HC)

  • Prime mover attached to semi-trailer
  • Rigid vehicle towing more than 9t GVM

Multi Combination (MC)

  • B-double
  • Road train

Drivers with a disability

You are obligated to let the RMS know if you have a disability that could affect your driving. If considered serious the RMS can conduct a disability driving test and conditions may be placed on your licence (e.g. automatic only).

Drivers with medical conditions

You are obligated to let the RMS know if you have a medical condition that could affect your driving. You may require regular medical tests to ensure you are fit to drive. Your licence may be suspended or cancelled if you are deemed unfit to drive.

Driving and dementia

Reduced mental functioning can inhibit your ability to drive safely. In the early stages, a person’s support network should consider alternate transport.

Drivers aged 75 and over

From 75 onwards annual medical exams are required to ensure you are fit to drive. From 80 licence classes above C and R must complete annual driving tests. From 85 C and R licence classes require driving tests every two years.

 

Continue reading the Road Users’ Handbook Summary:

1. Introduction

2. Licences

3. Road Safety

4. Safe Driving

5. General Road Rules

6. Vehicle Registration

7. Penalties


Check out the other resources available to help you pass the Driver Knowledge Test and get your learner licence (L plates):

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