You would think that in this great country of ours, getting a drivers licence for the first time would be a fairly standard process across the different states, but after researching how its done country wide I have to say it’s really not a simple or generic exercise! So if it’s time for your teenager to apply for their L plates and (eek!!) start driving, then here is all the basic info you need to know no matter where you live.
In WA, teenagers must be 16 years old and pass a theory test to obtain their learners permit. The theory test consists of 30 multiple choice questions and they must answer a minimum of 24 correctly to pass. Upon successful completion of this test the learner driver is issued with their learners permit and a log book to record a minimum of 50 hours supervised driving in a variety of conditions with either a registered driving instructor or someone who has had their licence for a minimum of four years. A Practical Driving Assessment (PDA) can be undertaken after 25 hours have been logged and the learner has reached 16 years and 6 months of age. Once this test is passed, the learner then must log another 25 hours and have turned 17 to attempt a computerized hazard perception test. If they pass this test, the learner is issued with their red P plates (to be displayed for the first 6 months) and then green P plates that must eb displayed for 18 months before a full licence is issued.
In SA the age for L plates is also 16 and a theory test also applies, except this one consists of 8 give way diagrams, all of which must be identified correctly in addition to 42 multiple choice with a minimum passing score of 32 correct. The logbook requirement in South Australia is 75 hours with a minimum of 15 of those being at night. At 17, South Australians have two choices for getting their P plates; they can attempt an on road practical vehicle test or complete a competency based training course with a registered driving instructor with a CBT licence. Upon completion of either of these they are issued with red P (P1) plates and must have these for 12 consecutive months with no demerit point infringements before being eligible to attempt the computerized hazard perception test and apply for green P (P2) plates. Once you have had a probationary licence for 2 years without any demerit point infringements you can apply for a full licence with no further testing.
In NSW the application age is 16 but the initial test is referred to as a driver knowledge test. Once completing this, a logbook of 120 supervised hours including 20 night time hours is required before applying to attempt the practical driving test and obtain a P1 licence at 17 years old. Up to 10 supervised hours can be counted for triple time of 30 hours if completed with a registered driving instructor. A P1 licence must be kept for a minimum of 12 months before attempting the hazard perception test to apply for a P2 licence. A P2 is then kept for 2 years before attempting a practical driver qualification test to get a full licence.
In QLD, the application age is also 16 but the written test is 30 questions and once passed, a minimum of 100 logbook hours is required with at least 10 hours of night driving and up to 10 hours with a registered driving instructor being counted as triple logbook time. L plates must be kept for at least 1 year before applying for a P1 and attempting the practical driving assessment. Once held for a minimum of 1 year and successful passing of the hazard perception test, the learner will be issued with a P2 licence which must be kept for 2 years before applying for a full licence with no further testing.
Victoria’s application for learners age is 16 and has a similar knowledge test to most states, 32 questions with a minimum 78% to pass, logbooks are then issued with a requirement of 120 hours, 10 of those at night. Victoria is different in that the hazard perception test cannot be attempted until the learner is 17 years, 11 months old, with 54% required to pass and a required age of 18 to attempt the practical test to get a P1 licence. A P1 is kept for a year and a P2 for 3 years with no testing in between the two, but a clean driving record is required to pass from 1 to 2.
In the Northern Territory a learner must be 16 with parental consent or 17 without to attempt to get their learners permit and there are two choices for assessment. A learner may an individual theory test on the road rules and safety or attend a six hour group session and pass an assessment at the end of the session. There are no logbook requirements in the NT and a learner only needs to have their learners permit for 6 months before attempting the practical driving assessment to get their provisional licence, however if they got their learners permit through the group session method they must attend a second theory session before attempting the practical assessment. Once a provisional driver has had their P plates for two years they are automatically eligible for a full licence with no further testing.
In the ACT a complete road safety course is offered in year 10 of high school, or through their local licensing centre for those not still at high school and once students have completed this and are 15 years and 9 months old they can attempt the knowledge test to get their learners permit. L plates must be kept for a minimum of 6 months and the learner must be 17 and pass a practical driving assessment or complete a competency based training program with an eligible registered driving instructor, before being eligible for their provisional licence. Once a provisional driver has had their P plates for three years they are automatically entitled to a full licence with no further testing. If a provisional driver wants to get rid of their P plates sooner they can complete a Road Ready Plus Course after a minimum of 6 months on their P plates and if they pass successfully they no longer need to display P plates.
In Tasmania a learner only needs to be 15 years 11 months to sit their driver knowledge test but must be 16 to receive their L1 licence and they must have this for 3 months before applying for their L2. On L1 it is recommended but not mandatory to complete 30 hours of supervised driving but once an L2 licence is obtained through a practical driving assessment, 50 hours of logged, supervised driving is required over a minimum of 9 months. Another more extensive practical driving assessment is needed to get a P1 licence, which is kept for at least 12 months before moving straight to a P2 for a further 2 years, then onto a full licence.
Do you remember what you had to do to gain your driver’s licence? How does your teen feel about the process?
www.keys2drive.com.au – this one covers every state and is a great resource for parents and student drivers alike