Provisional P1 licence


Are you 17 or over and ready to apply for a P1 licence? Find out the steps you need to take to get your red Ps.

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Check your eligibility

The provisional P1 licence (or red Ps) is the next step after your learner licence.

The P1 licence is the first licence allowing you to drive without a supervisor.

To apply for your red Ps, you must first:

If you're under 25 – you must also have held your learner licence for at least 12 months and recorded 120 hours of driving time.

If you're 25 or over – you can attempt the HPT and driving test when you're ready. You do not need to complete a log book.

Restricted P1 licence for people in remote areas

If you're under 25 and live in a remote area, you may be eligible for a restricted P1 licence. A restricted licence lets you drive without a supervisor, in particular circumstances, before you've met all the requirements for your red Ps.

This type of licence makes it easier for young people in remote areas to get to work, education and health-related appointments.

See Restricted P1 licence for more information.

Pass the Hazard Perception Test (HPT)

To progress from a learner driver licence to a P1 licence, you need to pass the HPT.

You should book your HPT when you're close to being ready for the driving test.

If you're under 25, this can be at any point after you've held your learner licence for 10 months.

If you're 25 and over, you can attempt the HPT and driving test as soon as you're ready. You do not need to complete a learner driver log book.
 

You'll need to pay the test fee when you make your booking.

You can take the test as many times as you need, but you must pay the test fee each time.

Pass the driving test

When you meet the conditions to apply, you can take the driving test.

Booking the driving test

When you feel ready to book your test, you need to:

If you fail the driving test, you must wait at least 7 days before you attempt the test again.

After you pass

After you pass the driving test, an attendant at the testing centre will take your photo for your licence card.

We'll post your licence to you if it's not given to you on the day. In this case, you'll receive a temporary paper licence, which you can use until your new licence card arrives.

You can also choose to get a digital licence.

Rules for provisional P1 licence

Drivers on their red Ps must obey the NSW Road Rules. There are some other conditions and restrictions that apply as well.

When on your red Ps, you must:

  • only drive cars
  • display red P plates clearly on the front and back of the car, on the outside
  • only tow trailers up to 250 kilograms of unloaded weight, and you must display your red Ps on the back of the trailer
  • ensure everyone in the car is in a seat with a seatbelt or approved restraint – each person must use a seatbelt or restraint
  • only drive solo in the kind of car you took your driving test in. If you drove an automatic transmission or clutchless manual car in your test, that is the only type of car you may drive on your Ps unsupervised.

You must not:

  • drive above the speed limit of 90 km/h
  • have any alcohol in your system when driving
  • supervise a learner driver
  • drive a high-performance vehicle
  • use any mobile phone while driving, or while your vehicle is stopped but not parked. This includes hands-free devices or loud speakers.

You must comply with these requirements when you are driving outside NSW. You should also find out about any driving laws that may apply to you while in another jurisdiction.

Passengers of P1 drivers

There are special conditions that apply when P1 drivers carry passengers.

The peer passenger condition

If you're under 25 and are on your red Ps, you must not drive with more than one passenger who is under 21 between 11pm and 5am.

You may apply for an exemption at a service centre. Complete the P1/P2 passenger or vehicle exemption form (PDF, 361.04 KB) and pay the application fee.

An exemption from the peer passenger condition may be granted if:

  • your employment requires you to transport passengers between 11pm and 5am
  • you can demonstrate that you need to drive family members between 11pm and 5am
  • you volunteer in community service work where you transport passengers between 11pm and 5am.

You must notify Transport for NSW within 14 days if the circumstances that affect your exemption have changed. This may include you no longer requiring the exemption, or if your exemption letter needs to be replaced. A further fee may apply.

Licence offences and consequences

Failure to comply with the P1 licence rules can result in a range of penalties, including fines, demerit points and even the loss of your licence.

Demerit points

Demerit points apply to P1 drivers. Your P1 licence will be suspended or refused if you reach or exceed 4 demerit points in a 3-year period.

Speeding offences

If you drive above the speed limit, you will exceed your demerit point limit and your P1 licence will be suspended for at least 3 months.

If you're caught by police while driving more than 30km/h over the speed limit, they can suspend your licence immediately.

If your licence is suspended

Any period that your licence is suspended is not counted towards the 12 months you need to accumulate on your P1 licence.

If your licence is disqualified

If a court disqualifies you from driving while you're on your P1 licence, your licence will be cancelled immediately.

When the disqualification period ends, you will have to apply for a new P1 licence. The time you've accumulated on your red Ps will be lost. You will have to complete the full 12 months again before you can apply for your green Ps.

Passenger conditions after disqualification

If your P1 licence has been disqualified for any driving offence committed on or after 11 July 2005, you must not carry more than one passenger for 12 months once you regain your licence. This is known as the 'one passenger condition'.

An exemption from the one passenger condition will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Any exemption will be limited to specific circumstances and may also be limited to certain vehicles.

You must notify Transport for NSW within 14 days if the circumstances that affect your exemption have changed. This may include you no longer requiring the exemption, or if your exemption letter needs to be replaced. A further fee may apply.

Liquor Act offences

It's an offence to use false documents to get into a licensed premises or to buy alcohol. If you're convicted of doing this while you're on your red Ps, you'll need to hold your P1 licence for an extra 6 months (18 months in total).

What's next after red Ps?

After you've been on your red Ps for 12 months, you can apply for your green Ps (the provisional P2 licence), the next licence stage. Your P1 licence is valid for 18 months, if you don't apply for your green Ps during that time.

You need to hold your P2 licence (your green Ps) for at least 2 years before you can hold a full licence.
 

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