Understanding Your Supervised Driving Requirements

Once you’ve passed your written test, had your eyesight tested, filled out your learner permit application, and finally received the permit, then you’ll be ready to slap those ‘L’s on the front and rear of your car and begin to drive. You’ll be eligible to take your practical driving test in twelve months if you’re under 21 (less if you’re older) and you’ll want to be ready.

Of course, as a learner, you’ll always be required to have an experienced driver sitting next to you while you practice your driving.  You’ll be subject to a few other restrictions as well: you need to have a zero blood alcohol level, you must carry your learner permit with you while you drive, you can’t use any kind of phone or messaging device while driving, and you can’t drive with a trailer.

The most onerous requirement is this: if you’re under 21, you must have 120 hours of documented, supervised driving experience before you’re considered qualified to take the practical driving test.  Ten of those hours must be after dark.  All of your practice hours need to be recorded in an official Learner Log Book, and each entry must be signed by you and by the licensed driver who’s with you.  This requirement can only be waived if you can prove to Vicroads that it would impose undue hardship on you or your family.

If you haven’t already, then you may want to talk to a qualified driving instructor once you receive your learners permit.  If you’re under 21, then this is the right time to plan your driver’s experience requirement, and it’s a good idea to make a driving instructor part of that plan.  A qualified instructor is a trained teacher and has the skills and the patience to make you into a competent and confident driver.  Additionally, you will need a qualified instructor to help you prepare for the new, more stringent practical test.  A basic level of driving competence is no longer enough to pass it.  Now, you also need to learn to perform checks and manoeuvres in a precise, preferred style that a friend or family member may not be able to teach you.

Your experienced drivers – the people who supervise your driving experience – must hold current, full Victoria driver’s licenses or current interstate or overseas licenses.  Experienced drivers are restricted to a .05% blood alcohol level (0% if they’re an authorised instructor), and they cannot consume an alcoholic beverage while supervising.  They must also complete the  ‘List for Supervising Drivers’ and ‘Declaration of Completion’ in your log book.  Most young drivers will complete some of their driving experience with a qualified instructor as the supervisor, and some with one or more older friends or family members.

Once you’ve completed your driving experience and feel confident about your ability to perform all the standard manoeuvres and to drive in the correct style, you’ll be ready to take the practical driving test.

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