Types of licences

 

Driver licences are of two types; probationary licence and full licence. Stricter penalties apply for probationary licence holders. Full licence holders may have their licences suspended or cancelled.

Licences

VicRoads may grant a driver licence to any properly qualified person over 18 years old (s 19 RSA). The driver licence authorises the person to drive any category of motor vehicle referred to in the licence, such as a motor car or motorcycle.

There are two types of licences: a probationary licence, and a full licence. Anyone who wishes to drive and continuously lives in Victoria for three months or more must obtain a Victorian licence, or risk being charged with unlicensed driving (r 18 Drivers Regulations 2009) (seeUnlicensed driving”).

Probationary licences

Drivers obtaining a driver licence for the first time must hold such a licence on probation for three years; however, this period may be extended for drivers under 21 years (s 21(4) RSA). Also, probationary licence holders whose licences have expired or been cancelled must hold the restored licence on probation.

The Drivers Regulations provide for two types of probationary licence:

1 P1 licence: this is for drivers who are under 21 years old and have never held a licence; P1 licences are held for 12 months; and

2 P2 licence: this is for drivers who are 21 years or older and have never held a full licence; P2 licences are held for three years.

Probationary licence holders are required to display “P-plates” on the front and back of their vehicles (r 55 Drivers Regulations). Also, probationary licence holders are required to have zero blood-alcohol content while driving (s 52 RSA) (see5 Failure to have zero BAC”).

The probation period may be waived by VicRoads in some circumstances, such as if the driver has held an interstate licence (reg 48(2) Drivers Regulations).

Loss of probationary licences

Stricter penalties apply to probationary licence holders for driving offences. For example, their licences are immediately suspended for drink-driving offences (seeImmediate licence suspension”).

Probationary licence holders are also subject to tougher rules under the demerit points system. If probationary drivers accrue five or more demerit points in any 12-month period (or 12 or more demerit points in any three-year period) they may lose their licence (seeDemerit points system”).

P1 or P2 probationary drivers whose licences are suspended or cancelled face extensions of their licence status and variation of their P1 or P2 status depending on the type of licence held. For further information contact VicRoads.

Full licences

“Full licence” is the term commonly used to describe a driver licence held for longer than the probationary period. Probationary licence holders may have to pass a VicRoads test before they become full licence holders (s 21 RSA).

Where a court suspends or cancels a driver licence, the person is unable to drive any of the vehicles referred to in the driver licence (e.g. motorbike or motor car). In certain circumstances, courts can limit a driver licence suspension or cancellation to a particular category of motor vehicle (s 28(2)).

There is no such order as a “restricted licence order” in Victoria, as there is in other states, although restrictions on licence use (e.g. to be used only for work purposes) may rarely be the subject of an adjournment without conviction, providing the penalty section does not exclude this sentencing order (e.g. seeDrink-driving offences” and “Speeding”). A full licence holder who has their licence suspended or cancelled in that case has the full licence status restored.

Full licence holders convicted of drink-driving offences who require licence restoration reports hold their restored licences as full licence holders. However, they must have zero blood-alcohol content (BAC) while driving for three years, carry their licence with them while driving and may be subject to alcohol interlock devices (seeLicence restoration and licence eligibility orders” and “Alcohol interlock devices”).