Ask LH: Do The Rules For My Licence Change In Each State?

Hi Lifehacker, I have my P1 drivers licence in NSW. A friend recently told me that when driving in Queensland I can follow their road rules and do 110km in that zone instead of sticking to 90km. Is this true? Thanks, Stickler For The Rules

P-plate picture from Shutterstock

Dear Stickler,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your friend is mistaken. Motorists are required to abide by the restrictions of their licence type regardless of the state they are driving in.

If your provisional licence forbids you from exceeding 90km/hr, you're supposed to stick to that rule in all parts of Australia. (Likewise, the 90km/hr restriction does not technically apply to Queensland p-platers when they are driving in NSW. Lucky sods.)

Here are the rules as outlined by the Qld Department of Transport and Main Roads:

You are allowed to drive in Queensland on your interstate issued driver licence if you:  

  • only drive the class of motor vehicle authorised on that licence
  • comply with the conditions (if any) of your licence
  • carry your licence with you at all times when driving and immediately show it to a police officer when asked to do so.

That said, if you decide to ignore your P1 restrictions and "do as the Queenslanders do", we doubt you'd attract much notice. Police usually have better things to do than enforce speeding rules that don't even apply to their jurisdiction.

Just be aware that if you happen to get into an accident while violating the rules of your P1 licence it will almost certainly be used against you in court. (Although if you crash while driving 110km/hr it will probably be a moot point, as you'll be dead.)

Cheers Lifehacker

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.


    Although if you crash while driving 110km/hr it will probably be a moot point, as you’ll be dead
    Hmm. Noted.

    Another reason why things should not be handled by the states, but at the federal level.

    Why have 8, EIGHT! different sets of road rules?

      I'll keep my local not overly complicated road rules thanks. Do you really think national rules would be better? Or the heavyweights like NSW and Victoria who make their laws based on Sydney and Melbourne only wouldn't be choking the nations roads with 90kmph L and P platers?

    Yeah, welcome to a bunch of very pissed off and non-understanding Qld drivers stuck behind the NSW P-Plater doing 90 on the freeway!!

      So the most common QLD resident in other words.

    The difference between a licence condition and a road rule. A road rule can vary state to state, with you following the rules of the state you are in. A licence condition follows you wherever you go.

    We're well versed with this in the ACT, Our P platers can do the posted speed limit in NSW, however until recently it was a road rule that all L platers were restricted to 80kmph in NSW, no matter what state they were licenced in. This all changed however when they raised the limit to 90kmph, and the wording to the same as the P rules. Now L drivers in NSW are restricted by the licence they hold, not the state they drive in.

    I don't understand these laws. Why not just teach learners to drive at the posted speed?
    Its not a safe way to drive when other cars are going to be flying past you on a 110 road.

    A while back, while driving my motorbike with Victorian L plates in Tasmania I ran into a police officer who was not familiar with these rules. L platers in VIC should just do the posted speed limit, while on TAS the max for L platers is 80 Km/h.

    On TAS I was doing the signed speed of a 100 Km/h and got pulled over, rather aggressively, by this overzealous police officer. He had a look at my license and was just about to write me up a big fine (20 Km/h over the speed limit kind of big) when I explained to him that the rules on victorian L plate licenses are different. He wasn't happy with that, but after checking with people at his station on is radio it was confirmed I was indeed correct. He let me of with a warning telling me to stick to the 80 Km/H.... Clearly he still didn't get it, it should have been an apology not a warning. Anyway, long story short I took of and drove along at the signed 100 Km/h.

    Having so many different rules between states is indeed confusing. How can we expect normal people to be familiar with these rules if even police officers do not seem to be?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now