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The legal minimum driving age in Australia is either 17 or 18 depending on the state or territory. Driving licences in Australia are issued by each state or territory's licencing authority. All Australian driving licences are valid throughout the country. By law they must always be carried when driving. In all states a practical driving test, a knowledge test and an eyesight test must be passed to get a licence. Anyone intending to become a permanent resident in Australia needs to get an Australian driving licence. In most cases a new resident must exchange their licence for an Australian one within three months of arriving in the country.
To drive a car in Western Australia a Class C licence must be applied for. This entitles the holder to drive a vehicle that weighs no more than 4.5 tonnes and seats a maximum of 12 people, including the driver. All driving licences should be applied for at a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional agent.
Western Australia uses a Graduated Driver Training and Licensing (GDT&L) System, which was implemented to promote road safety and reduce accidents. The programme applies to all learner drivers and involves a two stage process before obtaining a licence.
Applying for a Learner's Permit is the first stage that a new driver needs to undertake to get a full driving licence. These can be applied for at the age of 16. An applicant has to take an eye test and pass a computerised test on the road rules of Western Australia. The permit is valid for three years. Applicants need two forms of identification to prove their identity, date of birth and address in Western Australia. One of the documents must contain a signature. Both pieces of identification must be original documents. Photocopies are only acceptable if they have been certified by a Justice of the Peace or a Western Australia police officer.
Both the eye test and computerised test take place at the Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional agent where the licence application is made. The road rules and test of safe driving can be prepared for by reading the Drive Safe Guide.
All new drivers must declare if they are taking any medications or have a medical condition. They are then informed if they need to take a medical test before being allowed to start driving.
Once a driver has a Learner's Licence they can start taking driving lessons. An "L" plate must always be displayed when driving with a Learner's Licence, and drivers must be accompanied at all times by one of the following:
Learner drivers must not drive at speeds exceeding 100 Km/h and must always have a zero blood alcohol level. This equates to the consumption of no alcoholic drinks. Learner drivers are not permitted to drive in Kings Park in Perth.
Once a driver has learnt to control a vehicle they can take the practical driving assessment. This test is to assess if the driver is ready to continue to Phase 2 of the Learner's Permit. The minimum age to take this test is 16 years and six months.
A test can be booked at a Driving and Vehicles Services Centre or regional agent. A driving instructor may arrange the test for their pupils. Tests can also be booked by telephone:
Once the practical driving test has been successfully passed learner drivers are given a log book and a Phase 2 Learner's Permit. They must continue to display L plates whenever they drive. At this stage a further six months of supervised driving experience must be gained and recorded in the log book. The logged driving time must total at least 25 hours and cover a variety of conditions. Driving in Kings Park is still prohibited. . After every logged driving session the log book must be signed by the accompanying driver. Although the legal requirement is for 25 hours of supervised driving, 120 hours is recommended. Driving in Kings Park is still prohibited.
Once all of the requirements of the Phase 2 Learner's Permit have been satisfied, and a candidate is at least 17 years old, the Hazard Perception Test can be taken. This test is taken at a Driving and Vehicles Services Centre or regional agent. It is done on a computer and involves a series of realistic moving traffic scenes. The test is designed to ascertain whether a candidate can assess traffic situations and make safe decisions. It tests the reaction times of the learner driver to avoid a crash and make a manoeuvre.
Once the test has been passed drivers can apply for given a provisional driver's licence.
An application for a provisional driver's licence can be made once all of the above criteria have been satisfied. To get the licence a fee must be paid and a photograph provided. The photograph is taken when the Hazard Perception Test is passed. This licence allows the driver to drive unsupervised in Western Australia. For the following two years "P" plates must be displayed when driving and the following restrictions apply:
After completing the two year provisional period drivers are eligible for a full driver's licence. The first year is free for all drivers who do not commit a traffic offence during the two year period they drive on a provisional licence. Once a full licence has been obtained it is valid for 10 years, at which time it will need to be renewed with an updated photograph.
The process of getting a motorcycle or moped licence is essentially the same as for cars. The same progression of tests, gaining experience and driving on L and P plates is needed.
A Learner's Permit to drive a moped can be applied for at the age of 15 years and 6 months. When learning to drive a moped the accompanying rider must have held a licence for two years.
An individual must be at least 16 years old to start learning to ride a motorcycle with an engine capacity up to 250cc.
Once a motorcycle licence has been held for one year an individual can apply for a licence for a motorbike with an engine capacity exceeding 250cc (R Class licence).
The process of getting a driver's licence is broadly similar in all states and territories, but there are some important differences. To find out how to get a licence in any state or territory:
New permanent residents in Western Australia with a driving licence issued by a "recognised country" can apply for a Western Australia driver's licence. To do so their licence must not have expired by more than 12 months. They are exempt from taking the computerised road rules test and may not need to sit a practical driving assessment.
A licence can be applied for at a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional agent. The following documents are needed: