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New Rules for Imported Cars P-Platers Should Know

As long as you have a P-Plater licence in Australia, you'll have a tough time enjoying your new liberty. There are a lot of national and state based rules that you'll have to abide by. 

These rules will particularly limit your room for exploration if you're an imported car enthusiast. That's because you can not import, purchase, or drive just any vehicle of your choice. 

In this post, we'll review the latest versions of these rules state by state, along with some new updates. Let's get started!

National Rules for P-Platers

Before we talk about rules, we highly recommend reading this guide about how to get a driver's licence in Australia. It will help you get familiar with the different types of licences in Australia.

For now, it's sufficient to know that the P in P-Plate licence stands for 'provisional', meaning it is a temporary licence for beginner drivers. As long as you have the P-Plate licence, you have to abide by the following rules:

  • Do not drive after taking a medication that affects your consciousness and thinking capabilities.
  • Do not drive after drinking. A zero blood alcohol limit applies.
  • Restrictions apply when driving between 11 pm and 5 am. Check specific state laws for more details.
  • Do not use your phone or any other device when driving. This includes when stopped at traffic lights.

Apart from these, novice drivers are advised to strictly adhere to safe driving practices, such as using seat belts, keeping a safe distance when following a car, and scanning their surroundings for potential hazards. 

Drivers are also responsible for ensuring their passengers obey traffic laws like wearing seat belts.

State Rules for P-Platers

In addition to the general rules described above, each state in Australia has some specific rules for P-Platers as well.

Here's a summary:

RegionProvisional Licence Rules & Restrictions
Australian Capital TerritoryLicensees must be 17 years or older.
Four demerits are permissible.
The licensee cannot tow any vehicle unless the vehicle is a 750 kg GVM or less.
QueenslandTwo stages of P-Plate licence: P1 & P2
P1 licensees cannot drive with more than one person or an immediate family from 11 pm - 5 am.
P1 licence can be upgraded to P2 after 12 months. 
P2 licence lasts two years if you're under 25.
P1 & P2 licence holders cannot drive high-power vehicles.
VictoriaLicensees must be 18 or older.
Drivers cannot carry more than one passenger aged between 16-21 unless they are immediate family members.
Licence duration: 1 year for P1 and 3 years for P2.
Cannot drive prohibited vehicles.
Four demerits are permissible.
Northern TerritoryNo stages
The provisional licence lasts for 2 years.
5 demerits permissible in one year
Allowed to drive all vehicles.
The speed limit of 100km/h for all vehicles under all circumstances.
TasmaniaP1 lasts one year.
A speed limit of 80km/h.
Four demerits permissible.
No car Class Name restriction.
Western AustraliaP1 upgrades to P2 licence after 6 months.
Four demerits are permissible.

If you're in South Australia or New South Wales, we recommend browsing the long list of P Plate laws here. These two areas have the most stringent P-Plate rules, and each detail is significant.

P-Platers: Rules for Imported Cars

The Australian government defines an imported car as a road vehicle that aims to transport humans, animals, or goods. It can be a product of Australian companies, but not necessarily.

You must have import approval, whether you import them for personal or commercial use. And the vehicle should comply with its respective state's import rules. 

For example, temporary visitors and tourists in Western Australia cannot import a vehicle for temporary use without a special permit.

But generally, the Australian government permits the import of personal-use vehicles for temporary visitors and tourists. 

If it's attached to a trailer or caravan and you'll be taking it back, you don't have to pay any duty or taxes. However, it is advisable to get third-party car insurance such as with Rollin Insurance for your imported vehicle.

That's because most of the imported vehicles have higher performance (in terms of speed) compared to an average Australian car. And it's difficult and costly to find spare or replacement parts for imported vehicles in case of damage. 

Just make sure you check out the terms and conditions of the policy you're purchasing. Some car insurers may apply restrictions on the age of the driver, licence type, or the modifications you can make.

As for the rules about the type of vehicle, P-Platers in Australia can drive imported vehicles listed in this list. If a car is not mentioned in this list, it's prohibited for import and road use.

Some New Rules for Imported Cars

According to a recent update, the authorities have extended the deadline for acquiring import approval for older SEVS (Specialist & Enthusiast Vehicles).

Older SEVS are vehicles manufactured before 1989, and P-Platers are allowed to drive them if they're in mint condition. But it's still a good idea to confirm this with your local authorities.

There's a general opinion about avoiding the use of expensive or exclusive imported cars on roads for P-Platers. As a novice, you do not want to draw unnecessary attention, cause trouble, or secure demerits for micro mistakes and accidents. Wait for your full licence before you hit the road with an imported vehicle!

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