If you want to drive, you’ll need a learner permit and a probationary license. Learner and probationary drivers are subject to special laws, like:
- Drinking and driving isn’t allowed
- You’ll lose your license or permit if you’re caught with a .07 or more
- You can’t drive if you’re high (even if your doctor prescribed them)
- Keep your permit or license on you at all times
- Your car has to be registered with VicRoads
- a tougher demerit point system.
Driving a car on your L-plates
A learner permit requires you to be at least 16 years old. When you drive on your L-plates you must always have an experienced driver with you, and you must display your L-plates at all times.
How long you need as a learner depends on your age.
To get a driver’s license if you’re under 21, you have to have a learner permit for at least 12 months. Other rules apply for drivers aged 21 and over. You have to have 120 hours of supervised driving experience, including 10 hours at night. It’s up to the person who was supervising you to record and sign off your hours.
In some cases, you can have a shorter learner permit period – for example, if you live in an isolated area and you need a license to do your job. You have to apply to VicRoads to be exempt.
Go to the VicRoads website for full details about how to get your car learner permit
When you get your learner permit
Whenever you drive, you’ll need to display your L-plates and keep your permit with you.
Driving a car on your P-plates
For probationary drivers under 21, there are two stages and four years.
- a P1 licence (red P-plate) for the first 12 months
- a P2 licence (green P-plate) for the next three years.
Bad driving records will make getting a license more difficult. Older drivers have different rules.
When you get your P-plates
When you drive, you’ve got to display your P-plates. They have to be visible from 20 meters away.
A P-plate driver can’t use a phone while driving. This includes hands-free, handheld, or text messaging devices.
There’s a limit of one ‘peer passenger’ per driver in P1 cars. A peer passenger is someone 16 to 22 years old, but brothers and sisters in this age group are allowed to ride as passengers.
Other rules for P-platers
The maximum number of demerit points a probationary driver can accumulate in a twelve-month period is five, and the maximum number in a three-year period is twelve.
High-powered cars aren’t allowed for probationary licence holders.
Riding a motorcycle
If you’re 18, you can apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit. But you have to pass these tests first:
- an eyesight test
- a knowledge test
- a practical skills assessment test.
Before you can get your motorcycle license, you have to have the learner permit for at least three months. VicRoads has details on how to get your motorcycle learner permit.
Riders must use a motorcycle or motor scooter of a certain size and engine capacity. They can only ride automatic motorcycles if that’s what they were tested on. See VicRoads’ list of approved motorcycles for novices.
You must wear an approved helmet when you’re a learner or during the first year of your probationary licence.
If you’re applying for a motorcycle learner permit or probationary license, you’ll also need:
- Make sure their headlights are on at all times
- Make sure you’re wearing high visibility gear (only L-plates)
- Mobile phones aren’t allowed.
Ride with your L- or P-plates on.