Driving licence in Australia
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|Australian Driver Licence|
The front and back of an ACT Driver Licence
|Issued by||States and Territories of Australia|
|Type of document||Driver licence|
|Eligibility requirements||Qualified drivers of Australian States and Territories|
A driver's licence (or driver licence) is required in Australia before a person is permitted to drive a motor vehicle of any description on a road in Australia for commerce. The responsibility for the regulation and enforcement of road use, including light vehicle driver licensing is the responsibility of the state and territory governments.
- 1 Classes of licences
- 2 Car licences – rules by jurisdiction
- 3 Identification
- 4 Overseas licences
- 5 Interstate travel
- 6 Interstate commercial driving jobs
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Classes of licences
All states and territories in Australia have a uniform driver licence system.
|C||Car licence||Covers vehicles up to 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM). GVM is the maximum recommended weight a vehicle can be when loaded. The licence allows the holder to drive cars, utilities, vans, some light trucks, car-based motor tricycles, tractors and implements such as graders, vehicles that seat up to 12 adults, including the driver.|
|R||Rider licence||Applies to motorcycle riders with any registrable motorcycle.|
|RE||Restricted Rider licence||Covers motorcycles matching the LAMS (Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme) list of motorcycles of each state. Generally this means abiding by a power-to-weight ratio and a total engine size limit. Riders must hold this licence for 12 months before being permitted to upgrade to a R class motorcycle licence.|
|LR||Light Rigid licence||Covers a rigid vehicle with a GVM of more than 4.5 tonnes up to 8 tonnes. Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9 tonnes GVM. This class also includes vehicles with a GVM up to 8 tonnes which carry more than 12 adults including the driver. A holder of a LR licence is also permitted to drive vehicles in class C.|
|MR||Medium Rigid licence||Covers a rigid vehicle with 2 axles and a GVM of more than 8 tonnes. Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9 tonnes GVM. A holder of a MR licence is also permitted to drive vehicles in class LR and lower.|
|HR||Heavy Rigid licence||Covers a rigid vehicle with 3 or more axles and a GVM of more than 8 tonnes. Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9 tonnes GVM. This class also includes articulated buses. A holder of a HR licence is also permitted to drive vehicles in class MR and lower.|
|HC||Heavy Combination licence||Covers heavy combination vehicles like a prime mover towing a semi-trailer, or rigid vehicles towing a trailer with a GVM of more than 9 tonnes. A holder of a HC licence is also permitted to drive vehicles in class HR and lower.|
|MC||Multi-Combination licence||Covers multi-combination vehicles like Road Trains and B-Double Vehicles. A holder of a MC licence is also permitted to drive vehicles in class HC and lower.|
The driver of a vehicle carrying paying passengers (such as a school bus or tourist coach) is required to hold a driver licence depending on the size of the vehicle as well as a "Public Passenger Vehicle Driver Authority" which is issued by the state or territory Ministry of Transport.
Car licences – rules by jurisdiction
The official nomenclature for car licences varies in the states and territories, for example "Driver's Licence" or "Driver Licence". However, "Driver's Licence" is most commonly used.
The official names for learners also vary, for example "Learner Driver Licences" or "Learner's Permit".
The minimum driving age for probationary drivers varies between States and Territories. It is 18 years in Victoria; 16 years and 6 months in the Northern Territory; and 17 years in all other states and the ACT. Learner drivers may drive, under qualified supervision, from 15 years and 9 months in the ACT and 16 years in the other states and the Northern Territory since 1966
Australian Capital Territory
- Learner Licence
 The applicant must complete a road safety program Road Ready that is taught in many[vague] secondary schools or at a Road Ready Centre and pass a computerised road rules test before obtaining a Learner Licence.
The road ready course is a minimum of ten hours, if undertaken at a road ready centre and not through school. During the course, applicants for a Learner Licence learn the road rules, undergo alcohol education and hazard perception training. Once this course has been completed, and a computerised Road rules test is passed, a Learner's Licence is obtained. This licence is valid for two years. Learners must display black on yellow "L Plates" and drive under the supervision of a full Australian licence holder, who has held their licence for at least four years.
- Provisional Licence
The second method in which a Provisional Licence may be obtained, is through recording driving experience in the same logbook, with a supervisor who has held an open licence for twelve months for the class of vehicle used. The difference in using this method to obtain a provisional licence is that the log book only records time spent driving, and not the Learner's ability to drive. While no minimum amount of hours are required, Learners are advised when obtaining their Learner's licence, that 50 or more practical hours are recommended before attempting the practical test. Using this method, provided the driver has held their Learner's licence for a period greater than 6 months, they may book into an ACT Roads and Transit Authority Centre, and attempt the practical driving test.
If either method is used, and the driver has obtained their licence in an Automatic transmission vehicle, an "A" condition is placed on the licence, for a period of 12 months. This condition restricts the license holder, for the duration of this period, to driving vehicles with automatic transmission only. To remove the condition prior to 12 months, the provisional driver must re-attempt the practical driving exam in a manual transmission vehicle. The Provisional Licence is valid for three years. Provisional drivers must display red on white "P Plates" for three years unless: (a) they take an additional road safety program Road Ready Plus after six months of obtaining their Provisional Licence; or (b) they are over 26 years of age and held their licence for six months. Provisional holders who have taken the Road Ready Plus (RRP) course, (commonly called a "P-off" course), or are over 26 years of age also get an additional four demerit point allowance. A "PC" condition is displayed on the licence, which indicates that the provisional driver can drive with "P plates not displayed". Provisional drivers must have a zero blood-alcohol limit. No speed restrictions are imposed on ACT learner or Provisional drivers, and they are permitted to drive the posted speed limit.
- Full Licence
- A Full Licence is upgradable after holding a Provisional Licence for three years.
New South Wales
The minimum driving age in New South Wales is 16 years. The government introduced the Graduated Licensing Scheme in 2000 and therefore learners progress from a learner licence, to a provisional P1 licence, to a provisional P2 licence and finally to a full licence over an extended period of time. After obtaining a licence, a driver continues to be subject to restrictions during a three-year probationary period.
- Learner Licence
-  Learners are permitted to drive accompanied by a supervising unrestricted licence holder. Learners are subject to numerous restrictions: (a) a maximum speed of 90 km/h; (b) a zero blood alcohol content limit; (c) cannot tow a trailer; and (d) and must conspicuously display black-on-yellow "L-plates" on the exterior of the vehicle while driving. Learners must complete at least 120 hours of driving practice including 20 hours of night driving and hold the learner licence for at least 12 months before a provisional P1 licence is issued. Since 16 December 2009, one hour with an instructor is equal to three hours of normal driving hours until a total of ten hours with an instructor. This equates to a maximum of 30 hours which can be accumulated at an advanced rate. Since 19 December 2009, learner drivers 25 years old and over are not required to complete a learner driver log book and are exempt from the twelve-month tenure.
- Provisional P1 Licence
 The licence holder can drive unaccompanied but is limited to a maximum speed of 90 km/h, towing trailers of up to 250 kg  and a zero alcohol content. Red-on-white "P-plates" must be displayed while driving. P1 drivers are limited to a total of four demerit points during the term of the licence, as compared to the thirteen-point limit on unrestricted licences. P1 drivers must hold the licence for one year before progressing to the next stage.
In New South Wales the minimum age to be eligible for a provisional P1 licence is 17. As of 1 July 2007, new laws for P1 drivers have been introduced, including a limit of one passenger under the age of 21 between 11 pm and 5 am, and instant suspension for three months for any speeding offence. Furthermore, it is also now a requirement that red "P-plates" be displayed on the outside of the vehicle.
P1 and P2 drivers are also prohibited from driving a vehicle with a power-to-weight ratio of or greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne as of 1 August 2014, replacing the previous law of being prohibited from driving vehicles with 8 or more cylinders and being turbocharged or supercharged (diesel vehicles exempt) If a P1 or P2 licence holder is disqualified by a court for a serious driving offence, they will have a one-passenger condition imposed on them at all times while on their P1 or P2 licence. It is also worth noting that any time a P1 or P2 licence is suspended or disqualified will NOT count towards the 12 months/24 months needed for the holder to progress to a P2/full licence.
- Provisional P2 Licence
- hazard perception test. The driver is restricted to a speed limit of 100 km/h, a zero alcohol limit and a maximum of seven demerit points; however, they are eligible to upgrade the class of their licence, such as those for heavier vehicles. P2 drivers must conspicuously display a green-on-white "P-plate" on the exterior of the vehicle at all times. P2 drivers must hold the licence for two years before progressing to the next stage. From 1 December 2016, P2 licence holders will no longer be permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding.
- Full Licence
- A full, unrestricted licence is gained after two years and successful completion of another computerised test. Unrestricted drivers licences are coloured gold.
The learner licence may be obtained at age 16. Learner drivers may not use a mobile phone and must be supervised by a full licence holder and may not drive faster than 80 km/h. After holding the learner licence for six months a provisional licence may be obtained. Once the provisional licence is obtained, it must be held for a minimum of 2 years before obtaining the full northern territory licence.
- Provisional Licence
You will need to hold your provisional licence for a minimum of two (2) years before you progress to an open licence.
Now that you have your provisional licence you still need to comply with all road rules and traffic laws and there are some additional requirements for provisional licence holders including: SpeedYou may not exceed 100 km/h, irrespective of the sign-posted speed limit. AlcoholYou must have a zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at all times whilst driving. Displaying P-platesYou must display approved P-plates that are clearly visible to the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving and must not obstruct your vision while driving. P-plates must have the letter ‘P’ in red on a white background. The plate must be a minimum of 150mm wide and 150mm tall. P-plates must not be displayed when the person driving the vehicle is not a provisional driver – so make sure you remember to display and then remove your P-plates from the vehicle when you start and finish driving. Mobile phones and other devices Provisional drivers are not permitted to use a mobile phone in any form whilst driving, including hands-free devices and texting. Demerit pointsAccumulating five (5) or more demerit points within a 12-month period will trigger action against your provisional licence.
- Learner's licence
Persons may apply for their Learner Licence at 16 years of age, passing a written Road Rules Test. Learners under 25 must hold their licence for at least one year and log a total of 100hrs on-road driving experience (including 10hrs night driving) in the issued logbook. However a logbook exemption can be applied for, meaning the learner will not need to submit a logbook with 100 hours of driving, but will need to hold their learner licence for a minimum of 12 months before going for their provisional licence. Learners over 25 years of age are not required to complete a log book of 100 logged driving hours, however may voluntarily wish to do so. Learners must display yellow L plates and are not speed restricted by the licence. Learners must be accompanied by an open licence holder who has held the relevant class open licence for at least 1 year. The drinking level must be 0.00 for a learner and instructor must be under 0.049.
- Provisional licence 1
- Provisional licence 2
- Driver licence
- The Queensland Government is replacing the current laminate Driver Licence & Heavy Vehicle Driver Licence with a more secure, durable & reliable licence. All licensing and personal information that is currently on the face of the laminated licence will remain on the face of the new card, and one's address will be shown on the back.
From 2005, Queensland licences have been called a "Driver Licence" (as opposed to the traditional "Driver's Licence" or the variant "Driving Licence"), and no longer carry information about the holder's organ donor status. The Australian Organ Donor Register is now used for national registration of tissue donation status.
Elderly drivers are required to have their licences renewed more often and are required to have compulsory eye tests, which does not include colour vision.
For more information on driver's licences in Queensland, see Department of Transport and Main Roads and click on Licensing.
- Work Licence
- A Queensland Driver charged with a drink driving offence may be entitled to apply for a work licence that if granted by a Magistrates Court would entitle the driver to drive for work purposes whilst their licence is suspended see http://www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/work-licences.html
- UD Class Licence
- Queensland had a special class UD licence which allows operation of heavy agricultural or purpose-built vehicles without an MC or HC licence. No new licences of this type will be issued after 1 January 2014, but existing licences remain valid.
- Learner's Permit
-  Applicants must pass a theory test to obtain a driving permit. A learner driver must always be accompanied by a Qualified Supervising Driver (that does not hold either a provisional or a probationary licence). Learners must display yellow L-plates, and may not have a blood alcohol content greater than zero and must not accumulate more than four demerit points. Learner drivers are allowed to travel at a maximum speed of 100 km/h, even where the posted speed limit is higher. Learner drivers are permitted to tow a single trailer.
- Provisional Licence
To get a Provisional Licence (also called a probationary licence and commonly referred to as Ps), you must have held a learner's permit for at least 12 months, be at least 17 years of age or have an equivalent interstate or overseas driver's licence and be at least 17. If you had a learner's permit, you must also have a log book showing you have had at least 75 hours driving experience (including at least 15 hours of night-time driving) which must have all been signed by the Qualified Supervising Driver. All applicants must pass a practical driving test or be signed off on several points by a driving instructor in a competency-based training course. Drivers are then issued with a P1 licence. The main restrictions on P-platers are a maximum speed limit of 100 km/h (even where the posted speed limit is higher), a requirement that no alcohol or party drugs be in the system, and not being allowed to accrue more than 4 demerit points. They must also display red P plates (shown on left).
Drivers who obtain a P1 provisional licence on or after 4 September 2010 must not drive a high-powered vehicle if they are under the age of 25. High powered includes vehicles with engines of eight or more cylinders, vehicles with turbocharged or supercharged engines (excluding diesel powered vehicles), vehicles that have been modified to increase engine performance, and nominated high-performance vehicles. High-powered vehicle restrictions do not apply to drivers over 25 years of age. P plates of any kind are not displayed when on the P2 licence.
A driver must have held a provisional licence (combined P1s and P2s) for at least 3 years(one year on P1 and 2 years on P2) before becoming a fully licensed driver. Fully licensed drivers have their restrictions on alcohol relaxed to 0.05 per cent blood alcohol concentration and may drive at the full speed limit (which is 110 km/h on many country roads).
After 3 months a Learner can go for a practical driving test, this test proves in the driver can drive safely. This test can be undertaken in an automatic or manual vehicle, if the L2's test was undertaken in an automatic vehicle the learner can still go for their manual licence when the undertake the P's test. (there is no plate change it still remains the yellow L plate) Once a Learner is on their L2's they begin logging their driving hours, a learner must complete 50hours of driving and must be of the age of 17 before they can take the practical driving test. This test contains several sections including the "I left something behind" task. If the learner fails the test he/she must wait 28 days before retaking the test.
- As of 2 March 2015; L2 drivers have new speed restrictions in which they can drive at 90 km/h in a 90 or 100 zone and at 100 km/h in a 110 zone.
-  provided they don't exceed the speed limit, and do not have to display P plates. They must have a BAC limit of zero to drive and the licence will be suspended if 4 demerit points are accumulated, contrasted with 12 for full licence holders. Drivers must hold the P2 licence for between 12 months and two years, depending on their age, to be issued a full licence.
Note: there are no vehicle restrictions in Tasmania.
The minimum driving age in Victoria is 18 years. A learner can drive at the age of 16 under the supervision of a fully licensed driver since 1966. After obtaining a licence, a driver continues to be subject to restrictions during a 4-year probationary period.
- Learner's Permit
Blood alcohol content (BAC) must be zero), and must be accompanied by a driver who holds a full Driver Licence and has a BAC below 0.05%. A Victorian Learner's Permit is valid for 10 years from date of issue.
'L' plates must be displayed while driving, and must not tow a trailer. There are no special speed or vehicle restrictions.
Learner permits, P1 and P2 Probationary licences have a maximum of 5 demerit points in any 12 month period, and 12 points in any 3 year period.
- P1 (Red) probationary licence
An applicant for a Driver Licence must have held a Learner's Permit for at least 12 months if the applicant is under 21 years at the time of applying; 6 months if the applicant is between 21 and 24 years; and 3 months for applicants aged over 25 years. If a driver obtained their Learner's Permit after 1 July 2007, and are under 21 years of age, they must have logged 120 hours of practice, including 10 hours at night.
Probationary drivers must drive with a zero BAC, and are not permitted to drive 'high powered vehicles' (formerly those powered at more than 125 kW/tonne or 3.5 litres/tonne; now all petrol turbocharged and supercharged cars and any car of more than 6 cylinders, refer below). If the driver was tested in an automatic vehicle, the driver will have an "A" condition applied to their licence and are not permitted to drive a manual transmission vehicle. The "A" condition can be lifted anytime during the probationary period(s) by taking the practical drive test in a manual transmission vehicle.
There are no speed restrictions, however trailers may not be towed except for work purposes. P1 drivers have a peer passenger restriction which sees P1 drivers only able to carry no more than one passenger aged between 16–21 years old (excluding family members; exemptions may also be allowed by VicRoads for other reasons) at any time. They must not use any form of mobile phone including hands-free.
On 1 July 2008, what is considered a high power vehicle was redefined. P plate drivers were no longer allowed to drive cars with engines larger than a V6, cars that have a turbo or supercharger (unless it is a diesel). A shortlist was produced of cars that comply with these restrictions but are still considered powerful and therefore banned. The list includes BMW M3 and Porsche 911. There have been many complaints about this system as several slower cars have been banned, such as the Peugeot 308, but faster cars such as VW Golf R32 and BMW 130i were still permitted.
On 1 July 2014, the rules were again modified, to distinguish between vehicles manufactured before 1 January 2010, and those manufactured after. Probationary drivers are now permitted to drive any vehicle manufactured after 1 January 2010 that does not have a power to mass ratio of greater than 130 kilowatts per tonne, and does not have a modified engine for increased performance. Vehicles manufactured before 1 January 2010 remain subject to previous restrictions, which include a restriction on engines larger than a V6, and cars that have a turbocharger or supercharger.
After 1 July 2008, those aged over 21 years when applying for a licence qualify as P2 drivers after passing the computerised Hazard Perception Test and a practical driving test, as well as an eyesight test.
- P2 (Green) Probationary Licence
The same P1 restrictions apply, except P2 drivers may tow trailers. As of 25 November 2013, P2 drivers must not use a mobile phone while driving, including hands-free phones. The peer passenger restriction does not apply to P2 drivers. They must display the white-on-green 'P-plates', rather than the red. If a person is over 21 when licensed they go straight onto the P2 licence for three years.
P2 licences last for 3 years, making the minimum age of receiving a full licence 22 years, up from 21 years for drivers who obtained their Probationary Licence before 1 July 2008. The minimum age for obtaining a P2 Licence is 19 years. All drivers who obtained their Probationary Licence before 1 July 2008 qualify as P2 drivers and must display the green 'P' plates.
- Driver Licence
- A full Driver Licence is obtained after the probationary period. For drivers who obtained their Probationary Driver Licence after 1 July 2008, the minimum age at which they can obtain their full Driver Licence is 22, unless they already have an Interstate or New Zealand Probationary licence, and move to Victoria, in which case they can be 21. This is an irregularity that can allow Interstate and New Zealand drivers to obtain their full licence one year ahead of residential Victorians.
There are few restrictions on fully licensed drivers, other than not being able to drive while holding a mobile phone, and the requirement to have a BAC under 0.05%. Full licences are valid for ten years, but can be made available for three years if requested. Full driver licences have a maximum of 12 demerit points in any 3 year period.
For more information on driver's licences in Victoria, see Arrive Alive website.
Driver's licences in Western Australia are administered by the Department of Transport. The driving age in Western Australia is 17 years. A learner can drive at the age of 16 under the supervision of a fully licensed driver. After obtaining a licence, a driver continues to be subject to restrictions during a 2-year probationary period.
- Phase 1 learner's permit
- Blood alcohol content exceeding 0.00%. Learner's Permits expire after three years. After a recent bill passed through parliament, Phase 1 drivers are now permitted to drive on Perth freeways as well as other roads outside the boundaries of Kings Park.
- Phase 2 learner's permit
-  Phase 2 Learner drivers are permitted to drive on Perth freeways, however they must still be accompanied by an experienced driver whenever they drive and the other restrictions continue to apply, the driver also has a 6-month mandatory waiting period before they can sit the hazard perception test to get their provisional licence.
- Provisional licence
Graduated demerit points
As of 1 December 2010, the Western Australian Government introduced a new Graduated Demerit Point system for Novice Drivers (which includes L- and P-plate drivers). Under this system, a driver may accrue less than 4 demerit points within the first year of their provisional licence, and less than 8 points within the second year, before losing their licence. These limits include demerit points accrued before these 1- and 2-year periods.
Full driver's licence
The provisional licence automatically converts into a full driver's licence after the 2-year probationary period. Drivers with full driver's licences must drive with a blood alcohol content less than 0.05%, may accrue less than 12 demerit points before being disqualified, and may drive at up to 110 km/h (the maximum speed limit in the state). 'P' plate drivers may also drive up to 110 km /h, where permitted by the state.
WA has two classes of drivers licence: C which enables one to drive any vehicle weighing less than 4.5 tonnes C-A which enables one to drive any vehicle fitted with an automatic transmission and weighing less than 4.5 tonnes. Refer 
Double or nothing
Drivers who have accrued 12 or more demerit points can choose to continue driving on a 12-month Good Behaviour Period. If more than two demerit points are accrued during the 12-month period (even on different fines), the licence is lost for twice the original disqualification period; usually 6 months (3 months x 2).
In Australia, where there is no national identity card in operation, driver's licences serve as a common means of photo identification. Photo cards are also available, especially for non-drivers. These may be used for entry to venues which have age restrictions, such as alcohol selling premises.
Licences and photo cards are hologrammed, and contain a photograph, signature, the holder's address, and date of birth.
Electronic online identification can be (partly) established using a drivers licence for online applications for some services such as SIM card activation, and opening bank accounts.
Many issuing authorities such as NSW allow for an online check of the validity of a drivers licence.
Visitors from other countries are conditionally permitted to drive with their overseas drivers licence for a period of time. Conditions vary for every state and territory. Generally, drivers must carry their overseas licence with them. A certified translation or International Driving Permit is only required if the licence is not in English, and the original licence must be carried regardless. Once a driver becomes a permanent resident a local licence should be obtained generally within three months.
Interstate visitors are permitted to travel on their current Australian or New Zealand licence. They must obey the local road rules of that state. The differences in state laws have generated much confusion to visiting drivers, with many pushing for uniform federal road rules.
Drivers who move interstate must apply for a new driver's licence within three months of moving. Unless a driving test is required, there is no charge for a conversion from a current interstate licence. Usually, licences are converted in the same day, to the same or equivalent class, or, in the case of the conversion of a non-GLS licence to a GLS system, a P1 or P2 licence is issued, depending on the length of time that the holder of the licence has been driving. The licence may need to be confirmed by obtaining a letter from the interstate licence issuing authority (on their letterhead) confirming the licence details (including first issue date) and status.
Drivers moving states may be eligible to upgrade their licence class, due to the varying age rules that apply in each state. For example, a Victorian learner driver who moves to NSW may be eligible to sit the driving test to obtain a P1 licence. However, drivers who are under 18 will not be able to obtain the same licence class in Victoria, where one must be at least 18 to do so. Another example is a Victorian over 25 moving to Tasmania, SA, QLD or WA will be able to obtain a full licence after having held their Ps for 12 months in Victoria despite the fact that the probationary period for over-21-year-olds in Victoria is 3 years. If a driver is about to lose their licence in their home state, they may obtain a new licence in another state of Australia, provided that the demerit points have not already been added and the fine has not yet been paid, or in the case of immediate licence disqualification, the actual disqualification period has not yet commenced (prior 28 days after offence).
Interstate commercial driving jobs
Most states do not allow a person to have an interstate commercial driving job if the person does not "reside" in that state. For example, a person with a Queensland Driver's Licence and Driver's Authority (a variation of the wording Driver's Accreditation) cannot obtain a commercial driving job in South Australia unless that person registers a "residential" address in South Australia, even though they may not live there, and swap over the Driver's Licence and obtain a new Driver's Accreditation.
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- NSW Interstate Learners
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- Queensland Government. "Passenger transport driver authorisation". Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads. Queensland Government. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
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- How To Get Your Learner Licence
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- A ‘Demonstration’ Driver Knowledge Test for Learner Drivers
- Road Users Handbooks (PDF)
- Getting Driver's Licence in NSW(Infographic)
- Handbook summaries and practice tests for all NSW licence tests
- Handbook summaries and practice tests for all Victorian licence tests
- Handbook summaries and practice tests for all Queensland licence tests
- Handbook summaries and practice tests for all Western Australian licence tests
- Interactive Driver Knowledge Test (All Questions)