This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Probationary drivers

This page explains the rules for probationary drivers in Victoria.

Drivers who live in Victoria and are over 18 may apply for a licence. They must have fulfilled the minimum learner requirements.

Applications for a practical driver test are made to VicRoads. The driver has to establish their identity and pay the required fee.

A driver will not be eligible if they are currently disqualified or suspended from having a licence either in Victoria or other jurisdiction.

No probationary period will apply if the applicant is already fully licensed to ride a motorcycle and is applying for a vehicle licence. They will be issued with a dual licence.

How long does a probationary licence last?

A probationary period lasts for a total of 4 years if the driver is under 21 when they are granted their first P1 licence. That is, 12 months as a P1 driver and then a further 3 years as a P2 driver.

This period may be reduced or exempted if the driver has an interstate or international licence or other licence experience.

See VicRoads—Licences(opens in a new window).

Graduated licensing system

If this is the first licence held it will be probationary. If the driver is younger than 21 years old they must be issued with a P1 licence for the first year of driving. This is a white P on a red background.

A driver may graduate from a P1 licence to a P2 licence after they have spent 12 months as P1 drivers.

If the driver is over 21 they will skip the P1 period and start as P2 probationers for a total of 3 years. This is a white P on a green background.

See VicRoads—Victoria's Graduated Licensing System(opens in a new window).

Probationary licence restrictions

Different restrictions apply to probationers. Some of these restrictions apply to all P platers, and some only to the first year of driving.

All probationary drivers must:

  • display P plates clearly in the front and rear of the vehicles when driving
  • carry their licence at all times when driving
  • not use any kind of mobile phone while driving (even hands free)
  • not drive high powered cars (now called probationary prohibited vehicles)
  • only drive cars with automatic transmission if driving test was passed with automatic transmission vehicle
  • have zero blood alcohol concentration while driving.

Further restrictions for P1 Drivers

P1 Drivers must also not:

  • tow another vehicle
  • drive with more than one peer passenger

See rr. 60, 61—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Penalties

The penalties for ignoring restrictions are:

  • towing another vehicle while a P1 driver—10 penalty units
  • driving with more than one peer passenger—10 penalty units and 3 demerit points
  • failing to display P plates—3 penalty units and 3 demerit points
  • driving a high speed vehicle—10 penalty units and 3 demerit points.

Vehicle power restrictions

Probationary drivers must not drive motor vehicles that are prohibited until their probationary period has expired. The kind of power restrictions changed in July 2007. These high powered vehicles are now called 'probationary prohibited vehicles' under the Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019. Police who are on duty are exempt from this requirement.

What are the restrictions?

Probationary prohibited vehicles are defined under rule 56 of the drivers regulations as:

  • motor vehicles with 8 cylinder engines or more
  • turbo or super charged vehicles (but not a diesel)
  • vehicles that have been modified to increase performance (not by the manufacturer).

VicRoads may place a notice in the Government Gazette to declare a particular type of vehicle or modification to a vehicle to be a probationary prohibited vehicle. These are also listed on their website.

See VicRoads—Prohibited vehicles for P plate drivers(opens in a new window).

Exemptions

Some categories of probationers are exempt from the high powered vehicle offence. For example:

  • VicRoads can exempt a person by notice in writing
  • people driving in course of employment at request of their employer
  • heavy vehicle exclusions.

For all exemptions see r. 58(2)—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Revert from P2 to P1 or from full licence to P2

If a P2 probationer is found guilty of an offence that happened while they were P1 licensees, they must revert back to their P1 licence for a period of 6 months.

A driver who is found guilty of an offence while they were a P2 driver, must revert back to P2 licence for a period of 6 months.

This does not include an immediate licence suspension.

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 21(1)—probationary licences

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • r. 5—describes P Plates
  • r. 49—when a probationary licence will be granted
  • r. 50—P1 licence will be granted for drivers under 21 years old
  • r. 51—when a P2 licence may be granted
  • r. 51(2)—reduction for other driving experiencer
  • r. 52—transition from P1 to P2
  • r. 53—extension if P2 licence is suspended
  • r. 56—probationary driver must display P-Plates and creates offence for failing to do so
  • r. 56(3)—police, emergency services exemption
  • r. 57—defines probationary prohibited vehicles
  • r. 58—offence of 10 penalty units for driving a probationary prohibited vehicle (high powered vehicle)
  • r. 58(2)—explains the exceptions to vehicle power restrictions (probationary prohibited vehicles)
  • r. 54—P2 driver to revert to P1 licence if found guilty of an offence that happened under their P1 licence
  • r. 55—fully licensed drivers who were found guilty while on their P2 licence
  • r. 60—towing restrictions for P1 driver
  • r. 61—passenger restriction for P1 plate driver

See Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

See also Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)—Schedule 3 Demerit points(opens in a new window).

References

VicRoads has the following information for P plate drivers.

See:

Updated