To be eligible for a P1 Licence a driver must:
- be aged 17 years or older [s 75];
- have completed 75 hours of supervised driving – including 15 hours at night;
- have passed a practical driving test (Vehicle On Road Test i.e. VORT) or competency-based driver training (CBT);
- have completed a Hazard Perception Test;
- have held a Learner’s Permit [s 79A]:
- For drivers aged under 25:
- If no disqualification, for a continuous period of at least 12 months;
- If disqualified, for periods totalling 12 months of which there must be a continuous period of not less than 3 months since the end of the disqualification period.
- For drivers aged 25 and over:
- If no disqualification, for a continuous period of at least 6 months.
- If disqualified, must have held a learner’s permit for periods totalling 6 months of which there must be a continuous period of not less than 3 months since the end of the disqualification period.
The following conditions and rules apply to P1 licence holders [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81A]:
- must not drive a motor vehicle or attempt to put a motor vehicle in motion when there is any concentration of alcohol in their blood or prescribed drugs in their blood or oral fluid;
- must not drive a motor vehicle at a speed exceeding 10 km/h or more of any speed limit under the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) or exceed the 100 km/h speed limit prescribed under the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) ;
- must not accumulate 4 or more demerit points during the Provisional licence period;
- must display prescribed P plates when driving;
- must carry licence at all times when driving [98AAB];
- no mobile phone use while driving.
For P1 licence holders who are under the age of 25 the following restrictions apply:
1. Restrictions on night time driving
P1 licence holders who are under the age of 25 must not drive a motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 5.00 am unless accompanied by a qualified supervising driver [s 81A(16)].
In prescribed circumstances a driver will have a defence to a charge of an offence under section 81A(16). Prescribed circumstances include:
- if the driver is engaged in official duties as an emergency worker;
- if driving to attend education or training (must be by the shortest practicable route);
- if driving to participate in recognised activities – these include sporting, artistic, charitable, religious or scientific activities (must be by the shortest practicable route);
- driving to and from work (by the shortest practicable route) or driving for the purposes of work (work includes voluntary work or unpaid work experience);
2. ‘Peer Passenger’ restrictions
P1 licence holders who are under the age of 25 must not drive a motor vehicle while 2 or more peer passengers are in the vehicle unless accompanied by a qualified supervising driver [s 81A(18)]. A peer passenger is defined as a passenger aged between 16 and 20 years. In prescribed circumstances a driver will have a defence to any charge of contravening the restrictions. Prescribed circumstances include driving for work purposes (must be paid employment).
Where all the peer passengers, or all but one of the peer passengers, are immediate family members of the driver there will be a defence to any charge under section 81A(19). An immediate family member of a driver is defined as:
- spouse or domestic partner; or
- child; or
- guardian or step-parent; or
- spouse of a grandparent; or
- brother or sister; or
- stepbrother or stepsister; or
- child of a parent, guardian or step-parent;
- a person related to the driver according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
3. High powered vehicles
P1 licence holders under the age of 25 must not drive a high powered vehicle [s 81A(13)]. The maximum penalty for this is $1250. A person can apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for an exemption from this requirement [see s 81A(14)].
Where a driver breaches their P1 conditions (including where the driver has accumulated 4 or more demerit points), certain consequences may follow.
A breach of conditions will result in:
- disqualification from driving for 6 months, and
- cancellation of the licence
[See Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 81B(1)(d),(e)]
Penalty - see penalty summary
Under section 81BA of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) a P1 licence holder may enter into a Safer Driver Agreement in lieu of a disqualification but only under certain conditions. See Safer Driver Agreements.
Options for appealing a disqualification are limited for P1 licence holders and will be determined by whether the offence is a serious disqualification offence.
A serious disqualification offence is defined under s 81BA(6) as:
- an offence against the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA); or
- an offence that incurs 4 or more demerit points; or
- a speeding offence that incurs 3 or more demerit points, if committed by the holder of a licence who has, while holding that licence, previously been convicted of, or expiated, another speeding offence that incurred 3 or more demerit points; or
- a combination of a red light offence and a speeding offence arising out of the same incident; or
- any offence committed by the holder of a licence who has previously been disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence or learner’s permit under the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA).
If the offence is not a serious disqualification offence, the driver is eligible to enter into a Safer Driver Agreement under section 81BA. If eligible to enter into a Safer Driver Agreement, a driver cannot lodge an appeal.
Where the offence is a serious disqualification offence a P1 licence holder can lodge an appeal, but only on the grounds that their loss of licence will result in severe and unusual hardship to either themselves or their dependants [s 81BB(4)], and provided they have not successfully appealed in the preceding 5 years [s 81BB(2)].
If successful, no further appeals can be made for 5 years.
The effect of a successful appeal for a P1 licence holder will be:
- the licence is cancelled and the licence holder is entitled to a refund (on application to the Registrar) [s 81BB(7)(a)];
- the disqualification is removed and the person is entitled to apply for the licence afresh [s 81BB(7)(b)];
- the application for the new licence will be as if they were applying at the end of a period of disqualification [s 81BB(7)(c)].
Where a driver has successfully appealed a disqualification for breach of conditions and subsequently breaches a prescribed condition or incurs 4 or more demerit points, he/she will be disqualified from holding a licence for a period of 12 months and have their licence cancelled [s 81BB(8)].
No further appeals can be made for a period of 5 years from the date of the last successful appeal.
Where a P1 driver chooses not to appeal or is unsuccessful in an appeal they will no longer be required to re-apply for a Learner’s Permit. Once the period of disqualification has been served the driver will be eligible to reapply for a P1 licence.
For more information see the My Licence SA - P1 Provisional Licence website.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.