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P1 provisional licence

With a P1 provisional licence you can drive independently, without a qualified supervising driver or driving instructor.

But remember, your P-plates must be on, your licence handy, and the road rules and P licence rules must be followed.

pre learner

Driving on your own can test all the skills you learned on your L's without having the safety net of a qualified supervising driver with you.

Speeding, driving at night, or when tired or distracted are dangerous mistakes to be avoided.

Stay safe. Always wear your seatbelt and stay focused on driving.

Provisional licence laws and conditions (P1 and P2)

Provisional licences are issued subject to conditions. If you breach a condition you will lose your licence and be disqualified from driving. This is in addition to any other penalty.

The conditions are:

  • You must not drive a motor vehicle with any concentration of alcohol in your blood or the presence of THC (the active component in cannabis), Methylamphetamine (also known as speed, ice or crystal meth) or MDMA (ecstasy) in your blood or oral saliva.
  • You must not exceed any speed limit by 10km/h or more.
  • You must not accumulate four or more demerit points during the provisional licence period.

The following laws also apply. If you breach any of these laws you may incur penalties such as fines, demerit points or loss of licence.

  • You can only drive the class of vehicle stated on your licence.
  • You must carry your provisional licence at all times whilst driving.
  • You must not drive a high-powered vehicle while you are under the age of 25 (unless you have an exemption certificate).
  • You must not drive over 100 km/h even if the local speed limit exceeds 100 km/h.

Laws that only apply to holders of P1 provisional licences (these laws do not apply to P2) include:

  • You must display the correct size 'P' plates so that they are clearly visible from the front and rear of the vehicle (rear only for motorcycles).
  • You must not use any mobile phone function while driving, including hands-free mode and Bluetooth technology or loud speaker operation.
  • If you are under the age of 25 years, you must not drive:
    • between midnight and 5am, or
    • with more than one passenger aged 16 to 20 years (excluding immediate family members)
    • unless a Qualified Supervising Driver is seated next to you or you meet the exemption criteria.

Breaking the rules

If you are disqualified from driving you will need to re-apply for your provisional licence. If you are returning at the P1 stage, you will need to hold your new provisional licence for three years (one year on P1 and two years on P2). If you are returning at the P2 stage you will need to hold it for two years.

Safer Driver Agreements

If your licence is disqualified you may be able to elect to enter into a Safer Driver Agreement instead of serving the six month disqualification period. The Safer Driver Agreement will apply for the duration of your provisional licence.

If you breach the Safer Driver Agreement you will be disqualified for twice the period of your original disqualification (12 months). You must sit out the disqualification. No further Safer Driver Agreements or appeals will be available to you.

A Safer Driver Agreement will not be available:

  • If you commit one of the serious disqualification offences listed below, or
  • you have either successfully appealed a disqualification or previously entered into a Safer Driver Agreement within the last five years.

Serious disqualification offences

  • Criminal driving offences e.g. causing death by dangerous driving.
  • An offence that incurs four or more demerit points.
  • A second speeding offence that incurs three or more demerit points.
  • A red light offence and a speeding offence from the same incident.
  • Any offence committed by a person previously disqualified from driving.

Find out more about driving laws, offences and penalties

A Provisional 1 or learner driver is permitted to use a Navigational System (GPS), provided:

  • It is an original component of the vehicle being driven and has been built as part of the vehicle design; or
  • It is a standalone GPS that is secured in a mounting unit that has been commercially designed for the purpose of holding a GPS and is affixed to the vehicle as per the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the mounting unit.

If the navigational system does not meet either of these requirements then it cannot be used whilst driving.

High powered vehicle restrictions apply:

  • if you are a provisional licence holder under the age of 25

Read more on the rules, definitions and exemptions for high powered vehicles.

Learner’s permit holders can learn to drive in a High-powered Vehicle because they are required to be supervised by a Qualified Supervising Driver at all times.

Also, if you are under 25 and hold a full licence the high powered vehicle restrictions do not apply.

If you're driving with a P1 provisional licence you need P-plates on the vehicle so other drivers know you're an inexperienced driver. P-plates must meet these requirements:

  • The minimum size is shown in the diagram below. P-plates must have the letter P printed in red on a white background.
  • P-plates must be clearly visible from the front and rear of the vehicle (rear only for motor bikes).

P plate

Other styles of plates are not acceptable in South Australia. Buy your P-plates at Service SA customer service centres, at Service SA's online shop or retail outlets.

Heads up!

Penalties apply for not displaying P-plates.

Your P1 licence will automatically be upgraded to a P2 licence when:

  • you are at least 18 years of age; and
  • you have held a P1 licence for a minimum of twelve months.
Heads up!

Provisional licences must be held for three years instead of two (one year on P1 and two years on a P2 licence).   Read more about the rules to protect P-platers.

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