There’s no specific Australia-wide rule when it comes to towing on your provisional licence or P plates, but there are some interesting differences between the states and territories as to what you’re allowed to tow, and when.

    • Provisional licence holders have more skills than L-platers, but still have limitations
    • Rules vary between different jurisdictions
    • Be sure to check with your state or territory’s laws before towing anything

    You can enrol in towing lessons across the country, as there are registered trainers who can teach you the ins and outs of towing a trailer, no matter what licence stage you’re at.

    Towing can be dangerous. While it might be legal in some jurisdictions to tow anything very early in your licence-holding career, it’s arguably better to make sure you learn how to tow something before you take to the public roadway and potentially endanger yourself and other road users.

    Common sense is only a guiding principle in some cases, though. So here are the rules based on the states and territories of Australia:

    New South Wales: If you’re still on your P1 (red P plates) licence, you’re allowed to tow in NSW, but with strict limitations on the towed load.

    “P1 car licence holders can tow small trailers with up to 250kg of unloaded weight,” says the NSW Government.

    There are no restrictions on towing when you hold your P2 (green P-plate) licence in NSW.

    Victoria: P1 (red P) licence holders are more restricted as to what they’re allowed to tow than other licence-holders in the state.

    The VicRoads P1 restrictions state P1 drivers can’t tow another vehicle or trailer unless it’s “in the course of your employment as requested by your employer; it’s solely used for agriculture, horticulture, dairy, pastoral, commercial fishing or similar; there’s a full licence driver sitting beside you”.

    That seems like a commonsense approach. And for P2 (green P) licence holders, the rules around towing are the same as for a full licence holder.

    Tasmania: While you’re not allowed to tow as a learner in Tassie, when you get your P1 (red P plate) licence, you’re allowed to tow.

    The PlatesPlus site states: “You can tow a trailer on your P1 licence. You must ensure your P plates are still visible, attaching one to the rear of the trailer if the trailer would block the rear plate from view.”

    ACT: According to the ACT Road Rules Handbook: “Provisional licence holders are restricted to towing trailers up to 750 kilograms GVM (gross vehicle mass) for the first 12 months”.

    Those restrictions don’t apply to green P platers (P2 licence). 

    Northern Territory: You can tow on your Ls in the NT, and you’re allowed to tow on your Ps in the Territory, too. According to the Learner Drivers’ Guide: “Towing: You are allowed to tow trailers on a provisional class C licence.”

    Queensland: In Queensland you’re allowed to tow another vehicle or trailer while you are on your P plates, so long as you have your P plates clearly displayed on the vehicle towing, and the item being towed.

    South Australia: Same story with Ls and Ps – drivers are allowed to tow, no matter their licence level.

    MyLicence SA states: “If your permit or licence was issued in South Australia, you may drive a vehicle of no more than 4.5 tonne and tow a trailer, caravan, boat or horse float as SA does not restrict learner’s permit or provisional licence drivers from towing such vehicles.

    “In most cases your permit/licence conditions travel with you if you drive interstate, however, be aware that some rules may be different. 

    “As mentioned above, if you intend on driving interstate it is advisable to check with the relevant state’s licensing authority for any further restrictions that may apply in their state. For example, Victoria does not allow Victorian learner permit holders to tow vehicles and also applies this prohibition to learner’s permit holders from other States whilst driving in Victoria.”

    Western Australia: The West is open to L-platers towing, so it comes as no surprise that P-platers can, too. Just make sure your plates are visible on the towed vehicle (caravan, trailer or other).

    Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.

    MORE: Is it legal for learner drivers to tow a trailer?
    MORE: How P-plate restrictions are different around Australia

    Matt Campbell
    Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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