Changes to restricted vehicles for P1 and P2 licence holders

Posted on 21 February 2013

Under current legislation in New South Wales, P1 and P2 licence holders are prohibited from driving vehicles which are turbo charged or super charged, except if diesel, are eight or more cylinders, have performance modifications that require an engineers’ certificate, or specified high performance six cylinder engine vehicles, as published and updated in “Novice Drivers – High Performance Vehicle Restrictions”. The over-representation in fatal crashes of drivers aged 17 to 25 years prompted the restriction ruling to be introduced in NSW in 2005. However, the problem with a blanket ban on all vehicles falling into the “prohibited” category, is that it also includes vehicles which are designed to be fuel efficient through turbo charging but are actually low performance cars. These late model cars are often fitted with the latest safety features but are excluded to P1 and P2 drivers.

Transport NSW has been working closely with Austroads, the national transport body, and have put forward new legislation based on the power-to-mass ratio system which operates in Victoria. This system recognises the changes in technology with regard to improving fuel efficiency and considers the individual vehicle’s power-to-mass ratio regardless of whether it is turbo charged. The new ruling if passed, would also mean that using the power-to-weight ratio would see cars currently legal to be driven by P1 and P2 drivers moved onto the prohibited list.

Duncan Gay, the NSW Roads Minister, supports the proposed changes and if passed by cabinet the new nationally consistent laws could come into force by January 2014.