Learner drivers in NSW will be able to cut their compulsory supervised driving hours by one third and travel at higher speeds following a shake-up of the learner program announced by the State Government today.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced the introduction of the Safer Drivers Course, which, when combined with professional driving lessons, allows learners to reduce their number of compulsory supervised driving hours from 120 to 80.

From July 1, learners will also be allowed to travel at speeds up to 90km/h – 10km/h faster than before – which Minister Gay said was designed to give them more supervised driving experience at higher speeds in preparation for their graduation to P-plates.

“This is a first step in rewarding the state’s younger drivers for learning safer behaviour behind the wheel,” Gay said.

“Young drivers are tragically over-represented in the NSW road toll and we want to ensure they are all given the opportunity to learn about road safety while they are still learning the basics of driving.”

The Safer Drivers Course has been developed by a board of road safety experts including representatives from NSW Police, Roads and Maritime Services and the Centre for Road Safety, as well as road safety researchers and education specialists.

Gay said the course had the support of an advisory panel comprising representatives from the NRMA, driver training associations and community-based road safety education providers.

“We’ve carried out market research with parents and learner drivers who believe the course will benefit them,” he said. “They have told us it tackles the very aspects beginners face when they first start driving.

“The course deals with different road conditions, understanding factors beyond a driver’s control and also helps identify risks on the road. This is a different approach to conventional driver training which focuses more on the mechanics of driving and road rules.

“The course will help those young drivers who struggle to log 120 hours behind the wheel while on their L-plates while at the same time addressing safety issues they will face when they first drive solo.”

Completing the Safer Drivers Course gives learners 20 hours credit towards their 120-hour logbook total. Completing 10 hours of professional lessons likewise gives learners 20 hours credit for their logbook (the 20 bonus hours are in addition to the 10 hours spent driving during the lessons).

The Government recommends that learners enrol in the course after completing 50 hours in their logbooks, by which stage they should have basic driving skills and understand and appreciate the lessons taught.

Gay confirmed the cost of the course would be capped at an “affordable price”, with any additional costs of delivering the course to be covered by the Community Road Safety Fund.

The Government also announced a pilot program aimed at helping young drivers from remote, lower socio-economic and Aboriginal communities meet the requirements to qualify for their P-plates.

Under the pilot program, under-25-year-olds will be able to obtain a provisional drivers licence for driving to work, education and medical appointments. They will only be given the restricted licence if they complete at least 50 supervised driving hours and pass a driving test.

  • Suqsid

    Duncan Gay for PM.

    • Dave W

      He promised to reduce speed camera and review the speed limit where people complained of being too slow. So far he’s increased the speed cameras and reduced speed limit instead.

      A few months ago Wheels did a big article on his BS. This is after they did a previous article on how Duncan could possibly be the first politician with a little common sense.

  • HerpDerp

    Positive step Mr. Gay!

    Go one better? Make them learn how to drive a car BEFORE they get unleashed on public roads. Without a dual control car, the parent is absolutely not in control, whatever the RTA’s argument.

    When I say learn, I don’t mean the rules, I mean DRIVING. Theory and prac. classes. Concepts and techniques. Integrate it into schools with all the money you make out of speeding motorists.

    • R_p_d1964

      Seriously???? the problem is not with the way our kids are taught it is that we are a society are intolerant, and drive around with our heads up our proverbial or buried in our phones. They learn by example in all things. 

    • Ata

       While i agree with you that alot more should be taught to L platers before they step on the road, statistically L-platers have a vastly lower accident stats than P platers.

      P Platers and reckless drivers are the real issue.

      • $29896495

        Of course learners are less likely to have accidents, they’re supervised. The issue is getting kids with no experience to the road with as much knowledge, experience and sense as possible. If that’s successful, other than your general idiot things should improve. At least that’s what they are hoping for.

      • joycie

        Spot on, it’s the new arrogant, excited P-platers who are the real trouble makers. Not all of them, though.

  • Zaccy16

    great idea! are you listening victorian government! the government should pay though, a couple of weeks ago i did a defensive driving course through work, great fun for us older drivers but very very essential for learners and p platers! it was at calder park in melbourne near tullamarine air port

  • Frostie

    Finally somebody listens to Skaifey’s advice.

  • F1orce

    Australian drivers, well atleasy Sydney drivers are some of the worst in the world.

    People said that California drivers were bad, but the Sydney drivers are at a whole new level of bad

    List of errors that are very common in Sydney ;

    Slowing down during a downhill slope (not only does this cause worst mileage, but it delays the entire traffic and puts stress on the car as it labours going up the crescent) The ideal thing to do is actually feed some speed while going downhill and the car will have enough kinetic energy to comfortably cruise the uphill slope, speeding up traffic, improving MPG & less wear n tear

    Inconsistent highway speed, compared with California, Sydney drivers are all at different speeds, rather low speeds. This causes congestion and disruption. In the highway everyone should be doing quite above 90km/h on M4 at least, seriously when I reach 90km/h I’m surprised by the fact that I’m passing everyone else!

    Abrupt lane changes, everyone seems to change lanes abruptly and not gradually and beforehand. Example you’ll be approaching the exit and everyone just jumps into the exit side of the road. This causes congestion

    People on the ‘fast lane’ going slow, this is weird because the fast lane in Sydney seems to be the slow lane.

    People who do not slow down when approaching the roundabout, these people are a major hazard

    Truck drivers are by far the biggest danger, these people are absolutely reckless.

    I think we could blame this mainly on the design of the Sydney road infrastructure, they’re all small tiny roads that just cannot handle the capacity.

    • Dave W

      Problem is when you signal to change lane, the driver in the next lane usually speeds up to block you instead of giving way, that’s why people change lane quickly.

      • dilligaf

        And by speeding up the driver has created space for you behind him.

        • Dave W

          And the driver behind him would speed up as well to close up the gap.

          And for the record, I never said I change lane quickly. It’s just something I observed on the road. I personally prefer to minimise lane change, even if it means sticking to a slower lane.

          I have experienced it myself as well. I was on the middle lane on Anzac bridge, wanting to change to the left, so I signalled. There was a car in front of me so I could only hope for the driver on the left to slow down and leave me a gap, but none of them did. I was then getting close to the Harris St exit where I wanted to go, so I had to slow right down and had the cars behind me honking their horn thinking I was an idiot, until someone finally gave way to me.

          • Me

            You do realize that indicating to change lanes is showing others what you want to do – indicating does not give people the right to change lane. Indicate wait for there to be a clear space and change.

            If it isn’t safe to change then you dont. Can’t understand some of the idiots out there that change lanes and halfway over put their indicator on for a second. Or the ones who indicate and start changing.

            It is meant to be indicate to let others know what you want to do, when it is safe you then change over. No one has to give way to you because you want to change lanes, if others speed up then wait.

    • Noddy_of_Toyland

      They should rip up all the roads and hills in Sydney and make one big highway.

    • Anarchy

      Lots of bad drivers in Melbourne as well, especially on Monash. Fast lane is just a lane where most are happy to do 70. Keep left except when overtaking does not apply at all and I have noticed those in SUVs tend to do it a lot. 

      • Karl Sass

        +1 for this! It’s just as bad on the princess hwy. Doesn’t help that the speed limit is far too slow to begin with.

        • Zaccy16

          I totally agree, I go on the princess hwy every couple of weeks from Geelong to Melbourne and the majority of the drivers are terrible, for some reason they can’t keep a constant speed or stay in the same lane for more than a couple of minutes!! The 100 speed limit is very frustrating on such a well kept big road

          • John

            Same for the Eastern freeway in regards to the fast lane. And the police wonder why people tail gate…

          • Karl Sass

            Exzaccy. It could easily and safely support 120km/h+, lane discipline really needs to be enforced.

    • Karl Sass

      I agree with all of that F1 except about the truckies. They’re often some of the best drivers on the road, but they drive vehicles that are imposing by nature and many people get intimidated when they shouldn’t. Driving at a consistent  speed is so logical and easy to teach, it causes so much unnecessary lane changing. “Keep left unless overtaking”, how can people not comprehend such a simple instruction!

    • jcss

      “Truck drivers are by far the biggest danger, these people are absolutely reckless”.Mate….. you are making a HUGE statement here.  Got any facts to back that up.
      For instance, Crash rates vs Km’s logged per year. 

    • Dominic Farkas

      Do you even live in sydney? the freeways are normally full of roadworks that limit the speed down to 40 most of the time and 80 for most of the other.

      the danger isn’t the truck drivers, its the taxis and bus drivers who think they have right of way and just pull out in front of people who have right of way. the danger to trucks is that people pull in front of them when they are slowing down at a light or a turn, trucks need space and people just don’t know it.

      slowing down on a decline is normal if your maintaining the speed limit, Other peoples “mpg” is not your concern, especially when they are sticking to the law. Overtaking on nsw roads is flawed in the design of the markings, speed and other outlining factors. the “overtaking lane” must still adhere to the posted speed limit, therefore if someone is doing the speed limit then sure they could move over into the left lane but they are not doing the wrong thing by doing the speed limit. people sit in that lane because it gives them the placebo that they will get to their destination faster. there is a law stating to keep left unless overtaking but that doesn’t apply to all roads to my understanding.

      People claim “p plate” drivers are a risk and most problematic. in fact it is untrue. i spend 12 hours a day on the roads as a delivery driver and as i do see many p and l plate drivers, they are not the cause of the primary problems. sure a l plate driver will be slower and hesitate, but that is what the plate is for, to inform people to expect hesitation and a less experienced driver. the problem with full licensed drivers is that they think they are better then everybody else and tend to make simple mistakes like fail to indicate, fail to give way, fail to perform adequate hazard perception and fail to show courtesy to the people around them, performing these simple things make the roads safer and l and p plate drivers see full licensed drivers behave like this and think to them selves negatively and we all know what young people are like when they get upset and end up with the attitude “if they don’t do it why should i” or “no one every lets me in why should i” or “they only pick on p platers”.

      I have multiple cars, when i drive my small nissan k11 mirca, people cut me off (including buses), fail to indicate when pulling out or changing lane, tail gate me, park me in, don’t let me in and just random rudeness. When i drive my nissan s13 silvia, people don’t cut me off, they let me in, they indicate, they don’t tail gate me, people are generally a lot politer to me. Drivers are effected by the car you drive in relation to the car they drive, it is an attitude problem that comes down to the fact that there is NO RESPECT on the roads and that is the cause for the problems. the major problem with duncan gay is the fact that he is in the wrong field. for example, you don’t get a chef to fix your car and a doctor to do your gardening. the roads are not a priority, fixing the driver fatality is not a priority. there is too much money involved in the ways of insurance and penalties. smarter drivers means safer drivers, safer drivers means less fines and penalties, less fines and penalties mean less revenue. this topic is like beating a dead horse, unless a private entity gets involved to provide a well designed course and the right people get enough kick back then its not going to get any better.

      • Me

        That’s because most of the time Buses do have the right of way. If you don’t know the laws you should get off the road.

        It is the law that when a bus has its indicator on to exit from a stop that you, as a car/motorbike driver/rider, must give way to them.

        So if you don’t know the rules maybe you should go do your license again.

  • Dave W

    My question is, how will it change the attitude of the typical hot blooded young driver?


    Australians on average have very bad tastes , for example Dr Pepper did not succeed in Australia, despite the fact that Dr Pepper is a global sensation

    Austrians just like Coca Cola and McDonalds (MACCAS) , two falling brands in America

    Australians have very coarse, gruff and unrefined tastes in beverages, cars and even food!!  , this is why brands such as Coca Cola, LIFT, Fanta etc etc thrive in Oz , where as smooth and refined beverage such as Dr Pepper failed in Oz 

    good coffee in australia is one that is completely burned, YEAH ITS GOOD MATE 

    • BAZZA


      • Get Real Bazza


    • bambam

      We’re unique

    • Flaggan

      Dr Pepper tastes like over flavored soda stream.

      • $29896495

        To be honest, Dr Pepper is the most horrendous concoction ever made. That humans can consume it is testament to their lack of taste. I thought he was being sarcastic it was so unbelievable.

  • Save It For The Track

    And the learners from other states need to realise that when driving in NSW, they must do the NSW learner speed limit, and NOT what they are allowed in their own state. That is only in regard to learners, and not interstate P plate drivers in NSW. With the internet so easily accessible via laptops, tablets and ‘smart phones’, there really are no excuses for not knowing the rules when driving in another state.
    As for ‘slowing down on a downhill slope’, people are braking so as not to break the speed-limit. Exactly how much ‘momentum’ and how far over the speed-limit do you think should be allowed going down a hill ? A properly driven manual or automatic vehicle can easily be maintained at or near the speed-limit up or down hills.
    And Bazza, I dont know how popular Coke and McD’s is in Austria….. I know beer is popular, and a good schintzel goes down well, but McDonald’s? can’t say I bothered when there….

    • $29896495

      He might have a an out 3 cylinder? Bazza was just talking rubbish I think.

  • Thorpebrendanbt

    so i am a learner driver, got them last June but unfortunately due to being on tablets, i was unable to log many hours ( i currently have 10). Will these laws affect me, or since i already have my l’s will i have to still do 120?

  • LeStori

    The graph shows, as expected, that Leaner drivers are Safe drivers . This is because they are supervised (mostly) . There is little point stopping them from driving at normal speed limits. They need the experience under supervised conditions.
    If I understand the situation correctly, you do not want traffic
    traveling at different speeds. It is supposedly more dangerous than the
    traffic travelling as similar speed.Cetainly from my experience,cars coming onto a motorway and driving slower than the main traffic tend to cause chaos irrespective of who is driving.
    Politicians do not , unfortunately, work on logic. They ‘feel’ the mood of the ignorant and base laws on that ignorance. Hence the still stupid law stopping Leaner drivers traveling at the same speed as the main traffic.Better they lean supervised than off the leash.

    • Karl Sass

      They have the lowest crash rate because they drive less. I wonder what the chart would look like on a per km basis?

      • $29896495

        Actually common sense would tell you the learners are stricter controlled. They have  a parent or instructor with them. Letting them off the leash is when the trouble starts.

        • Karl Sass

          I didn’t feel the need to list that as a factor because it’s common sense, but thank you for pointing it out anyway. However, the reality is these type of charts never show crashes per kilometre. As a result, it gives a skewed impression of safety in the L plater stage.

  • Dogga94

    Yea as a recently licensed p plater when your parents you actually get to drive normally and because IMO with your parents after youve been a learner for a while it get really restrictive having to drive with them so once you get your ps if feels like you can finally be free but then you drive beyond your limits. What we really need is to simply build drag strips and tracks throught Australia so people dont have to drive a silly speeds.

    • Guest

      How many P plates are willing to stump up money for a drag strip when the local industrial park has it for nothing?

    • Mr Grammar

      I hope your driving is better than your grammar, punctuation and spelling. That was almost incomprehensible and an ordeal to read. I suggest you pay attention in your English classes in the future because it is apparent that you have not done so to date.

      • $29896495

        University student

  • Guest

    Wow…. I can’t believe that they only just thought about doing this now…. just a little behind… This should’ve been done years ago. Personally I am from Denmark, I know Denmark and most of Europe have been doing these sort of advanced/safety drivers course as part of learners which involved driving on surfaces such as snow, wet, and dry, and for them to try and loose control just to get the feel of how the car reacts and learn how to react to it..

    • horsie

      yep. good old europe, where 200 car pileups on freeways are common

  • Guest

    A speed limit ? serious ? and speed limit for P plates…. thats pathetic, which other country goes by this P/L plate system ? they can raise the hours as much as they want but in the end the truth is that 95 percent will forge the hours no matter how many is needed. 

    What they need to do is make a harder test which requires a far higher level of driving skill then what is needed at the moment. this will sort out future traffic too as majority of australians are bad drivers, and the traffic lights are lazy.It seems like Australia is the only country whinging about their P platers (or young drivers).

  • Aus_poppa

    Reducing the hours from 120 to a more realistic 80 will be a sensible measure. At 120 a great part of the log books are works of fiction. 

    We have twin grandchildren and that meant that over the 2 years of their L plates there was a total requirement of 240 hours of supervised driving – nearly 5 hours per week! A very tall order even with both parents and grandparents supervising.

  • jake

    L platers allowed to do 90? so does that mean red p platers will be allowed to go up to 110? doesnt really effect me seeing as i live on the border and when i hit QLD i can go 100 or 110

  • TheDriverTrainer

    As a Driver Trainer who’s worked in both NSW & QLD teaching learner drivers and delivers various defensive driving courses, I thought I would add my 2cents worth.

    I think this is a very positive step in the right direction for the NSW Government. Having learner drivers join the highway at 80kph when cars around you are doing up to 110kph is just down right dangerous in my opinion. I support reasonable restrictions of say 100kph for Red P platers but not supervised learners. The L plate period is the safest any driver will ever be, this is when we need to teach them how to deal with higher speeds, not let them work it out by accident.

    I can understand their thinking is to gradually introduce them to the higher speeds as they grow in confidence and competence but the reality is there is no safer time to learn these skills than when being supervised.

    What we need is a uniform system to teach ALL Australians how to drive to the same safe level not every state for themselves as is currently the case.

    I can only hope QLD pays close attention and introduces a similar scheme. With all due respect to parents most are not qualified to teach their children how to drive safely. I’ve been saying for some time we should introduce more incentives to encourage learners to start off with a qualified trainer to learn the basics and then gain practical experience with their supervisors.

    • pominoz

      Most drivers in Australia, enter the freeway at 80kmh. your sometimes lucky to go past the 110kmh sign and be doing 70kmh, with some of the useless drivers here.

  • Kj

    It is still a long way short of anything logical – these so-called
    experts keep telling us every K over is a killer, yet they fail to teach these
    kids to drive a car at the speed every other car on the road is passing them
    at. And that in turn creates hazards and acts of aggression by truckies and the
    impatient drivers because they get stuck behind the kids, which in turn puts
    the learner driver in far greater risk than he or she would be in if they were
    travelling at the same speed. NSW, the Nanny State!

  • Save It For The Track

    I’ve seen quite a few ‘professional’ instructors that leave a lot to be desired. I also know one who has issues parking and in general with vehicle placement and manuevering. Before making this change, an overhaul of the ‘professional’ driving instructors should be undertaken, to ensure they are up to standard. It really seems that they teach the learners how to pass the test that they will be given and not commonsense and actual rules of the road. i.e. move out of the path of emergency vehicles, planning which lane to be in earlier (you don’t have to sit in the right lane to make a turn 5km’s down the road), etc. And why isn’t basic vehicle maintenance, like checking the tyre wear and pressures made a part of learning to drive? Again, many of the ‘professional’ instructors don’t even do that themselves and/or wouldn’t know how.

  • jekyl & hyde

    this is a no-brainer good idea.

    safer driver’s course                         $200
    10 hours professional driver training   $500
    total                                                $700

    learner drivers learning skills they wouldn’t get with their parents & their parents NOT driving with them for 40 hours                                     

                                             *   PRICELESS  *

  • concerned parent

    Until parents drive better we will not have teenagers drive better. The parent is the person most looked up to by a child and from an early age they are taking on board in a subliminal way the way the parent behaves on the road- they get the message from them that it is o.k. to speed – ignore stop signs – run orange lights etc. The driver trainers then try to re-educate the learner but in most cases the damage has been done years before. The course should include a trip to a rehabilitation ward to meet victims of car accidents and learn their stories.

  • Marksmanr

    Get rid of all speed cameras and let Learners go the actual 100km/h or 110km/h highway speed limit…

  • Furious

    How is this a reward for learning safe behavior? The people that are actually implemented and endured the 120 hrs and ridiculous fast there are speed limits aren’t be rewarded!

    This is ridiculous no matter what there are always going to be idiots that wreck it for everyone.

  • Jonstacey1989

    what they should do is do driving classes in schools and those on centrelink should be given free or even half priced driving lessons its BS how much some charge!!!

  • Jfulcher52

    Sp do these laws come into effect for existing learners too?

  • bimmyy

    what about the age?
    does it change??

  • Chantelle

    Is the age still going to be 16?

  • yoyo

    do you still have to L’s for a year ?

  • The Wise Guy

    Notice NRMA consulted on the program GEE Duncan Gay don’t you know NRMA have a Driving School and are just trying to dominate the market. My children learnt with a sole Instructor and they are very safe good drivers. Support small business

  • Fbhgk

    From what time and until what time can a learner driver drive (a 16 year old on his L’s) in Australia, nsw