Ask LH: Which P-Plate Rules Apply When I Drive Interstate?

Dear Lifehacker, In the next few weeks I plan on getting my P-plates in the ACT. This has led to some confusion over what I am allowed to do in NSW. My Mum drives a Turbo Golf and I plan on sometimes borrowing it. What are the rules surrounding ACT drivers in NSW where P plates can’t drive turbos and have a speed limit? Should I just follow the NSW rules or do the ACT rules still apply to me? Thanks, Turbo Troubled

Luciano Meirelles /

Dear TT

The NSW Transport and Maritime Authority prohibits P1 and P2 licence holders from driving all turbocharged and supercharged petrol vehicles, including Volkswagen Golf models.

However, these rule do not apply to Canberran P-platers when driving in NSW. What’s more, you’re allowed to drive on NSW interstate freeways up to 20km/h faster than NSW P-platers. Basically, as long as you’re not exceeding the maximum speed indicated on street signage, the conditions of your licence still apply when driving in other states and territories.

That said, it might be wiser to err on the side of caution to avoid potential strife; especially when it comes to speed limit. Flagrantly disregarding the P-plate rules in a turbocharged car is likely to get you pulled over by the cops. There’s an outside chance they might decide to book you; either out of ignorance or sheer spite. While you should be able to successfully contest the fine in court, it translates to a lot of unnecessary hassle and wasted time.

Our advice would be to stick to the speed limit as it applies to licence holders in NSW (90/100km) when driving the Turbo Golf. On a side note, plans are afoot to overhaul NSW’s turbocharged car rules which means soon you may not need to worry. Hurrah!


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