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

Ask LH: Which P-Plate Rules Apply When I Drive Interstate?
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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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  • these are license restrictions, if you have a NSW license, you need to follow NSW license restrictions (stupid 80 kays max or whatever rubbish they state) in other states also.

  • What about the other way around? NSW license in ACT? What speed limit applies then? I waded through a 20 page Whirlpool thread and got no where, links to the ACT transport authority and the RTA were all broken and I could find nothing on either site.

    • I’d side with caution rather than do as the Romans do. Your best bet is to contact the ACT transport authority directly for a clear answer.

      I had to do the same when asking about installing a child restraint in an MX-5. Was a bit grey as the rules were in the midst of changing at the time, but since the car doesn’t have a back seat they (Vic Roads) classed it under the sames rules as a utility or van so could install one. They did note this rule may be different in other states so asked to confirm with each state directly as well.

      Still nothing more emancipating than driving a convertible with a child seat installed, :P.

      • Did you use the correct word there?

        emancipate (third-person singular simple present emancipates, present participle emancipating, simple past and past participle emancipated)
        Verb: To set free from the power of another; to liberate;
        Verb: To free from any controlling influence, especially from anything which exerts undue or evil influence; as, to emancipate one from prejudices or error.

        emasculate (comparative more emasculate, superlative most emasculate)
        Adjective: Deprived of virility or vigor; unmanned; weak.

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