Australian Drivers License

One thing I will never take for granted again is the fact that I am 16 and am able to drive a car. In Australia, the legal age to drive is 18 but most people don’t actually get their license until they are 19 or 20. The process to receive a license is long and complicated. The Australian government created this new process based on a statistic released around 10 years ago stating that most car accidents involve young, teen drivers. Through a three-step process, after about 2 years, teens will be lucky to have a full license by the age of 18.

The process begins at age 16 after you have taken a program similar to Drivers-Ed. Once you have finished the program, you may apply to receive your “L’s.” This means you are allowed to drive a vehicle with your parents present and in the passenger seat. This license is only valid for two years and the driver must log at least 160 hours to be able to move on to the next step. While a driver is in their L stage, they must place a yellow sign on the back of their car with an “L” so other drivers know there is a learner driving the vehicle.

Once the driver has logged 160 hours for at least a year, (most people say this is near impossible and very few manage to complete 160 hours in a year) they are then allowed to move on to their “P’s.” P stands for Provisional License. Most people receive their provisional license around the age of 18. This license means that the drivers are allowed to drive in a car by themselves but they must always be driving at least the equivalent of 10 miles per hour below the actual speed limit. Drivers who are driving under a provisional license must put a red “P” sign on the back of their car so other drivers and police know they still do not have a full license. If a driver is pulled over and they do not have their “P” or “L” sign on the back of their car their consequence is either a large fine or they have to restart the whole process, it depends on the driving law violated.

Once the driver has finished all of the steps on the “P” levels, they must go to the equivalent of the DPS and take a test. Apparently the test is fairly easy and few people fail, but if the test is failed, the driver must return to their “P” levels for a few months depending on the mark they made on their final exam. I am not sure what the statistics are comparing the death rates of teen drivers from the United States to Australia but I feel the Australian license process is too harsh and it should be easier to get a drivers license.

 

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Example of an “L” license.

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Example of a “P” license.

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