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I’m almost 15 years old and was wondering what would happen if I sat my learners and then the law changed to make 16 the legal age?

Also how would this effect getting my restricted licence?


From the "Ask Jack" archives - 15 November, 2010


The exact date for the proposed change has not been passed into law by Parliament so there are a few grey areas. The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee is hearing submissions and has to recommend any changes by 16 December 2010.

The anticipated date for the driving age to change is July 1 2011.

As it stands, the Bill proposes that you would be able to retain the licence you had at the date of the law change, i.e. if you had a Learner licence you would be able to keep it. However, you would not be able to progress to the next step until you met the new minimum age, i.e. you could not progress to a Restricted licence until you are 17 ½.

Working on that date then if you were to sit your Learner licence before the end of this calendar year (December), you should aim to book and pass your Restricted licence test as soon as you can and before 1 July 2011. Then when the law changes you would still be entitled to a Restricted licence. If you were to wait until later, say February 2011, then the move from Learner to Restricted is likely to be based on age and you would have to stay on your Learner licence longer.

The same would apply for someone under 17 ½ that has a Restricted licence and wants to get a Full licence. They should aim to pass the Full licence test before 1 July 2011 or they will have to wait until they are 18 ½.

The AA has asked the Select Committee to recommend that anyone that has already started the licence process before the law changes should get to complete their licence under the old rules. However, even if the Select Committee recommends this change it would have to get enough votes to pass. To be on the safe side, it would be best to start the process as soon as you can and make sure you book your tests well in advance of 1 July in case you might need to re-sit.