Learning to drive is an important part of growing up. It gives you the freedom to take control of your life! With a few restrictions…

Every Australian state has specific restrictions for inexperienced drivers, and South Australia is no exception. The P plate laws SA enforces mean you need to remember the extra rules and restrictions on top of the general road rules. Remember, while P plate laws can be a pain, they’re there to help you become a safe driver.

With all that said, here’s everything you need to know about the P plate laws SA has in place.

The silhouette of a dozen climbers on the top of one of the sails of Adelaide oval, moving along it at twilight

Getting your Driving Licence in SA

Before you can drive in SA, you need to learn to be a safe driver. Driving is a risky activity, and young drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents.

In SA, you must be 16 years old to pass the driver knowledge test. The test is a series of multiple choice questions, and all the information you need is in The South Australian Driver’s Handbook. Once you pass the theory test, you’ll need to complete at least 75 hours of supervised driving on your L plates – including 15 hours of night driving.

You can then move on to your P1 license. You’ll have your P1 license for at least 12 months before you can get your P2 license. To do so, you’ll have to pass the hazard awareness test. After at least two years of being on your P2 license, you should be able to get your full license.

Young Couple Driving Along Country Road In Open Top Car Smiling

P Plate Laws SA: The restrictions you need to know about

When you’re driving on your P plates you need to obey the P plate laws SA enforces, as well as the normal road rules. If you don’t you could face a license suspension or cancellation, which could extend the time you stay on your P plates.

Here are the restrictions that apply to all P plate drivers in South Australia.

  • There is a zero blood alcohol limit for all P plate drivers. That means you can’t have any alcohol in your system when you drive.
  • If you’re under 25, you can’t drive a high-powered vehicle, unless you have an exemption certificate.
  • You may not exceed 100km per hour, even if the signposted speed limit is higher.
  • You can only have three demerit points before you lose your license. If you get four demerit points you’ll lose the right to drive.

SA P1 license restrictions

There are extra P plate laws in SA for P1 drivers. Here are the P1 license laws that apply to you in South Australia:

  • You need to display P plates clearly on the front and rear of your car.
  • You cannot use your phone in any way while driving, including any form of hands-free technology, like Bluetooth or a loud speaker.
  • If you’re under 25, you cannot drive between 12am and 5am.
  • If you’re under 25 you can only carry one passenger between the age of 16 and 20.
  • You may drive at night or with multiple passengers between 16 and 20 if a qualified supervising driver is in the passenger seat.

SA P2 license restrictions

When you’re on your P2 license, you are still subject to a zero blood alcohol limit, a 100km per hour maximum speed limit, the three demerit point limit, and the high powered vehicle restriction, if you’re under 25.

However, these restrictions from your P1 license change:

  • You don’t need to display P plates on your P2 license.
  • You can use your mobile phone hands free. However, you cannot handle the phone while driving, which is the general law in SA. Set up your hands-free before your drive or when you’re pulled over.
  • You may drive between midnight and 5am, though you should take care when doing so.
  • There are no restrictions on the number and age of your passengers.

A female young driver smiling in a convertible sports car with red leather interior, red like her P plates on the rental car she's driving

P plate laws when driving in other states

If you drive in a different state while on your South Australian P plates, police may apply the P plate laws of either your home state or the state you’re driving in. There’s some confusion about which rules apply in this situation, and we’ve heard stories of it going both ways.

To keep yourself out of trouble, we recommend you look up the P plate restrictions from any state you plan to drive in and adhere to those, as well as any P plate laws SA has in place. The main differences will be the speed you’re allowed to drive, the passenger limits, and the need for P2 license holders to display green P plates.

Luckily we’ve written articles on P plate restrictions from other states, which you can find below:

A Green P Plate on a grey Hyundai i30 GoGet car - There are green p plate restrictions across Australia that can make be confusing at times

GoGet P Plate Restrictions in SA

Unlike the SA government, GoGet only puts one restriction on young drivers. If you’re keen to drive a GoGet car for an hour or for a day, we just need you to have had one year’s experience solo driving. Your age isn’t important. If you’ve held your P plates for at least 12 months then you can join up!

Adelaide is really starting to adopt car sharing as a way to get around. With dozens of cars across the city, you’ll probably find a car nearby. It’s more flexible than car rental, and it’s often cheaper than owning a car!

If you happen to be studying in SA, we’ve got great student rates that make getting around even cheaper.

Learn more about GoGet