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 drivers licence to any qualified person over 18 years old (s 19 Road Safety Act). The drivers licence authorises the person to drive any category of motor vehicle referred to in the licence (e.g. a motor car or motorcycle).

There are two types of licences:

1 a probationary licence, and

2 a full licence.

Anyone who wishes to drive and who continuously lives in Victoria for at least three months must obtain a Victorian licence, or risk being charged with unlicensed driving (reg 18 Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2009 (Vic) (“Drivers Regulations”) (see “Unlicensed driving”).

Probationary licences

There are two types of probationary licences:

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

2 P2 licence: This is for drivers who are aged 21 years or older and have never held a full licence, and for drivers who have had a P1 licence for 12 months. P2 licences are held for three years.

Both P1 and P2 licences are subject to additional conditions. Probationary drivers:

must have zero BAC;

must display P-plates (red P-plates for P1 licence holders and green P-plates for P2 licence holders) – the plates must be able to be seen from 20 metres away;

must not use their mobile phone at all while driving, including using it hands-free and reading text messages;

are prohibited to drive certain types of vehicles and vehicles with certain types of engines, such as a car where the engine has been modified to increase the car’s performance, unless one of the exceptions applies;

must not drive a manual car, unless they were tested in a non-automatic car.

P1 licence holders are subject to additional restrictions, including:

drivers must not drive with more than one passenger who is between the ages of 16–22, unless they are the driver’s spouse or sibling;

drivers must not tow another vehicle or trailer, unless one of the exceptions applies.

The probation period may be waived by VicRoads in some circumstances, such as if the driver is over 21 and has held an interstate licence (reg 48(2) Drivers Regulations).

Full licences

“Full licence” is the term commonly used to describe a drivers 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 Road Safety Act). Full licence holders are not subject to the same restrictions as probationary licence holders, but they must have a BAC below .05.

In Victoria, there is no such order as a “restricted licence order” 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 adjourned undertaking without conviction, providing the penalty section does not exclude this sentencing order (e.g. seeSpeeding” and “Drink-driving offences”). A full licence holder who has their licence suspended or cancelled in that case has the full licence status restored.