You may have seen vehicles with a “P” plate on the road. Are you aware of its meaning?
Displaying a “P” plate is only one of the regulations probationary driving licence holders have to observe. There is a whole list of items new drivers must pay attention to during the probationary driving period.
Must know - 1234
♦ A probationary driving licence holder is required by law to undergo a 12-month probationary driving period which is counted from the date of issue of a probationary driving licence.
♦ Within 3 years of passing all parts of the motor cycle, motor tricycle, private car or light goods vehicle driving test, a person can apply for a probationary driving licence for the respective vehicle class.
♦ During the probationary driving period, new drivers are bound by the same restrictions applicable to ordinary drivers. Moreover, they must observe 4 additional regulations as below:
- To display a “P” plate at the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving (for private car or light goods vehicle, displaying the “P” plate on the left-hand side of the windscreens is also acceptable);
- Not to carry any passenger on the motor cycle or motor tricycle they are driving;
- Not to drive their vehicles at a speed in excess of 70km/h, even if the speed limit of the road is above 70km/h; and
- Not to drive their vehicles on the offside lane of expressways where there are 3 or more traffic lanes.
Must know – requirements of the “P” plate
A “P” plate has to be made of reflex-reflecting material and in appropriate colours and dimensions as shown below:
Must know – extension or cancellation of the probationary driving period
♦ Extension of the probationary driving period
If a probationary driving licence holder commits a “minor” road traffic offence (an offence in respect of which 3 points or 5 points shall be incurred under Section 4 of the Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) Ordinance (Cap. 375), or any of the four driving restrictions under the probationary driving licence scheme as stated in the above section “Must know – 1234”), the licence holder’s probationary driving period shall be extended by 6 months upon conviction of the offence.
♦ Cancellation of the probationary driving licence
If a probationary driving licence holder commits a “serious” road traffic offence (an offence in respect of which 10 or more points shall be incurred under Section 4 of the Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) Ordinance (Cap. 375)) or 2 or more “minor” road traffic offences, the licence holder’s probationary driving licence shall be cancelled upon conviction of the offence(s).
When the probationary driving period comes to an end…
A probationary driving licence holder has to submit an application for a full driving licence within 3 years from the date of satisfactory completion of the probationary driving period for that vehicle class. Otherwise, he or she must sit for and pass a driving test again to obtain a new probationary driving licence.