YOUNG DRIVERS BE AWARE

October 13, 2014

On 28 July 2014 a new Graduated Licensing Scheme replaced the old licensing system.

It is important for young drivers on a provisional licence to be aware of the changes and, more importantly, how those changes will affect drivers. The main changes apply to P1 drivers under the age of 25 years, both current P1 licence holders and those who obtain their licence after 28 July 2014. It is now an offence to drive with more than one passenger aged 16 – 20, and it is also an offence to drive between midnight and 5am. There are exceptions to these new requirements but the onus is on the driver to show that one of the exceptions apply.

Examples of an exception to the curfew include driving for the purposes of employment, education, volunteer work or a sporting, religious, artistic etc activity. It is a requirement that the driver take the shortest route between home and the activity.

The only exemption to the age restriction on passengers is for immediate members of the driver’s family. A driver can have a passenger between 16 – 20 as well as immediate family members, even if the family member is under the age of 20.

It is not necessary to apply for an exemption beforehand, but a provisional driver needs to satisfy a police officer, upon being pulled over, that he or she is are entitled to rely on one of the exemptions. We therefore recommend that if you are required to drive between midnight – 5am and/or carry additional passengers, you download an exemption form at the My Licence website.

and have the relevant employer/association/club complete and sign off on the grounds for the exemption. This is because if you are pulled over by a police officer, you should then be able to satisfy the exemption criteria at the time and avoid an expiation notice.

If you are given an on the spot fine (expiation notice) and are facing a potential loss of licence as a result of one of these new offences, we recommend that you contact a specialist traffic lawyer at Websters Lawyers who can advise you on the best course of action to take.