A Guide to NSW Road Regulations For P & L Plate Drivers

by EzLicence Last updated


With all of the different rules and regulations for restricted licence classes in NSW, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with what you can and can't do as you obtain different licence types. 

That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide on the restrictions for L platers and Red + Green P platers that go beyond the standard NSW road rules so that you are aware of what is expected of you on the road and can avoid any accidental breaches. 

What are the different licence classes in NSW?

This article will cover the specific regulations for the 3 licence types everyone passes through to achieve their full licence. Beyond class C many different types of licences allow you to drive different types of vehicles such as trucks and other heavy machinery - this article will not go into these but be aware that there are more than 4 classes. 

Learner licence

A learner driving licence (L plates) allows you to operate a normal car under the direct supervision of someone who holds a full Australian licence. To obtain a learner licence, you must be 16 or over and pass the NSW driver knowledge test at your local RMS. 

Provisional P1 licence 

A P1 licence (red P plates) is a provisional driving licence that is achieved when you pass your practical driving test. You may go for the practical driving test once you:

  • Have accumulated 120 driving hours in your learner driver log book
  • Are at least 17 years of age
  • Have held a learner licence for 12 months 
  • Have passed the hazard perception test

Taking driving lessons with qualified instructors can help you pass the practical driving test and get your red P plates on your first go. 

Provisional P2 licence 

After holding a red P1 licence for at least 1 year, you are eligible to move to a P2 provisional licence (green P plates). This is similar to your P1 licence, but with fewer restrictions and must be held for at least two years. 

Class C licence (full licence)

A class C licence is the type that most drivers on the road hold. It permits you to drive vehicles such as cars, vans, some small trucks, or anything under 4.5 tonnes. You can obtain a full licence after 2 years of holding a P2 licence. 

L plate restrictions NSW

  • Speed limit: For New South Wales learner licence holders, the maximum speed is 90km/hour. 
  • Supervision:  A learner driver must have a supervisor who holds a full Australian driver's licence in the front passenger seat at all times.
  • Plates: L plates must be displayed both on the back and the front of the vehicle at all times when driving.
  • Passengers: Learner driver restrictions state that you may drive with passengers in the car, as long as someone with a full Australian driver licence is present in the front seat. All passengers must be properly restrained with seat belts or child restraints for young children. 
  • Blood alcohol content: The blood alcohol content (BAC) requirement is 0.00 for all learner drivers in NSW.
  • Demerit points: Dermerit points apply to those who hold a learner's licence. If you lose 4 or more points in a period of 3 years your licence will be suspended or lost. 
  • Area restrictions: Learner driver rules dictate that learner drivers may not drive in Moore Park, Parramatta Park or Centennial Park in the Sydney region. 
  • Mobile devices: You are prohibited from using a mobile device while driving, or when the car is stopped but not parked as a learner driver.
  • Car types: You must drive a regular car or van only (a vehicle that does not exceed 4.5 tonnes) as a learner driver. This can include a supercar or V8 as long as it is considered a car and meets the weight requirements. 
  • Transmission types: Learner drivers may learn in an automatic or manual transmission vehicle. 
  • Towing restrictions: Those who hold a learner licence are not permitted to tow another vehicle or trailer.

Red P1 plate restrictions NSW

  • Speed limit: The maximum speed limit for red P platers remains the same as the learner maximum of 90km/hour.
  • Supervision: P1 drivers can drive unsupervised.
  • Plates: Red P plates must be clearly visible on the front and the back of the car at all times. 
  • Passengers: You are allowed to drive with passengers who are secured with an approved restraint. For red P platers under the age of 25, only 1 passenger under the age of 21 is permitted between the hours of 11 pm - 5 am. 
  • Blood alcohol content: Your BAC must not ever exceed 0.00 while driving. 
  • Demerit points: Red P platers have 4 demerit points. If you reach or exceed 4 demerits as a P1 driver, it can lead to licence suspension or loss. 
  • Mobile devices: You must never operate a mobile device in the car unless it is in the park if you hold a learner licence. This includes hands-free devices.
  • Car types: You are not permitted to drive a V8 or any other kind of high-performance vehicle on your red P plates. 
  • Transmission types: You may only drive a manual transmission if you passed the practical test in a manual vehicle. 
  • Towing restrictions: You're permitted tow trailers exceeding 250 kg when they're not loaded. However, it's mandatory to visibly exhibit your P plate on the rear of the trailer.

Green P2 plate restrictions NSW

  • Speed limit: The P2 maximum speed limit is 100km/hour.
  • Plates: Green P plates must be displayed on the front and the back of the car at all times while driving. 
  • Passengers: You may have more than one passenger at any time as long as they are all restrained with seat belts and children are properly secured with child restraints. 
  • Blood alcohol content: The BAC requirement for P2 drivers is 0.00 in New South Wales - this is zero blood alcohol concentration.
  • Demerit points: Provisional P2 licence holders have 7 demerit points. 
  • Mobile devices: The same restrictions apply as P1 and learner licences, that you must not operate any mobile devices while driving a car.
  • Car types: You're restricted from operating a V8 or any high-powered vehicle while on your green P plates.
  • Transmission types: As a P2 licence holder, you can drive a manual or automatic transmission regardless of which one you conducted your test in. 
  • Towing restrictions: There are no special restrictions for towing a trailer or vehicle for green P platers, however, the green P plate needs to be visible from the back of your vehicle. 

Go from learner to P plater in no time with EzLicence

Are you in need of driving lessons so that you can get your provisional licence ASAP and taste the freedom of driving unsupervised? Then look no further than EzLicence. Our online booking platform allows you to easily compare the services and prices of professional driving instructors in your area.

Don’t wait any longer, booking driving lessons has never been easier than with EzLicence. Secure lessons with a licenced professional and go from Ls to Ps with confidence and efficiency!

Frequently asked questions

Is it illegal to eat while driving?

No, It is not illegal to eat while driving in New South Wales as long as you maintain full control of the vehicle. 

Can a front-seat passenger use a mobile phone in NSW?

The NSW Road Rules do not explicitly prohibit passengers from using a mobile phone, although if a passenger uses a mobile phone, the screen must not be visible to the driver from their seat. 

How many learner hours are needed before you can take the driving test?

A NSW learner driver must complete 120 hours after passing the driver knowledge test before they are eligible to take the practical driving test for their provisional licence.

Can you drive a V8 on your Ps in NSW?

You are prohibited from driving high-performance vehicles, V8s and any other vehicles with a power-to-mass ratio of greater than 130kW per tonne on both P1 and P2 licences. 

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