Probationary Driving Licence Scheme for Motor Cycles, Motor Tricycles, Private Cars and Light Goods Vehicles

Who is required to apply for a probationary driving licence?
  • Any person who applies1  to take a motor cycle or motor tricycle driving test on or after 1 October 2000, or a private car or light goods vehicle driving test on or after 9 February 2009 is required to apply for a probationary driving licence upon passing the test.
  • Within 3 years after 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.
  • The holder of a probationary driving licence to drive a vehicle class is required by law to undergo a 12-month probationary driving period2.
 
What should you pay attention to before applying for a probationary driving licence?
  • A probationary driving licence holder will only be allowed to apply for a full driving licence for the related class of vehicle upon satisfactory completion of the probationary driving period. If the day after the completion date of probationary driving period is a non-working day for the Licensing Offices of Transport Department, e.g. Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday, the probationary driving licence holder concerned can only apply for a full driving licence at Licensing Offices on any subsequent working day. Hence, if you must apply for a full driving licence on the day immediately after the completion date of probationary driving period, please count the days before applying for a probationary driving licence with a view to ensuring that the day immediately after the completion date of probationary driving period is a working day for the Licensing Offices.
How to calculate the probationary driving period?
  • The probationary driving period for each vehicle class is counted from the date of issue of a probationary driving licence to drive that vehicle class.  It does not include any disqualification period ordered by a court or any period during which a person does not hold a valid probationary driving licence.  If a person's probationary driving licence to drive a vehicle class is cancelled under regulation 12I of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations (Cap.374B), the period commencing on the issue of the probationary driving licence to drive that vehicle class and ending on the cancellation of the licence will not be included in calculating the probationary driving period.
 
What is required of a probationary driving licence holder?
  • For the purpose of enhancing road safety, holders of probationary driving licences are subject to additional driving restrictions on top of existing ones applicable to ordinary motorists.  Specifically, probationary driving licence holders are :
(a) 

required to display "P" plate at the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving (in the case of a private car or light goods vehicle, display of the "P" plate on the windscreens is also acceptable, but the "P" plate must be displayed on the left-hand side of the windscreens);

(b)  not allowed to carry any passenger on the motor cycle or motor tricycle they are driving (applicable to motorcyclists only);
(c)  not allowed to drive their vehicles at a speed in excess of 70 km/h, even if they are driving on roads with speed limit above 70 km/h; and
(d)  not allowed to drive their vehicles on the offside lane of expressways where there are 3 or more traffic lanes.

How to become eligible for a full driving licence?
  • The holder of a probationary driving licence will be allowed to apply for a full driving licence to drive a vehicle class only upon satisfactory completion of the probationary driving period for that vehicle class.  Assessment of the performance of the probationary driving licence holder will be affected by the number and nature of road traffic offence(s) committed by him during the probationary driving period, in particular -
 
(a)

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), his probationary driving period shall be extended by 6 months upon conviction of the offence. Transport Department does not notify a probationary driving licence holder of the extension separately; and

 
(b)

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, his probationary driving licence shall be cancelled upon conviction of the offence(s).

  • Application for a full driving licence to drive a vehicle class must be submitted within 3 years from the date of satisfactory completion of the probationary driving period for that vehicle class.  If not, the probationary driving licence holder must sit for and pass a driving test again to obtain a new probationary driving licence to drive that vehicle class.  He will be eligible to apply for a full driving licence to drive that vehicle class only after satisfactory completion of the probationary driving period afresh.

Cancellation of full driving licence on conviction of an offence committed during the probationary driving period

  • If a probationary driving licence holder has committed a road traffic offence during the probationary driving period but has not been convicted of that offence during the probationary driving period, he will still be eligible to apply for a full driving licence.  However, the full driving licence that he has obtained shall be cancelled and the licence fee paid shall not be refunded if he is convicted of the offence at a later date. 
  • In submitting an application for a full driving licence, the applicant's attention is drawn to whether he has committed a road traffic offence during the probationary driving period and whether he has fulfilled the requirements for obtaining a full driving licence, in order to avoid any subsequent cancellation of his full driving licence upon conviction of the offence.

Conviction of traffic offences during the probationary driving period

  • If a person holds a probationary driving licence for two vehicle classes (e.g. private car and light goods vehicle) and commits a road traffic offence while driving either a private car or a light goods vehicle during the probationary driving period, upon conviction of the offence, his probationary driving licence for both vehicle classes will be affected, in terms of extension of probationary driving period or cancellation of probationary/full driving licence.

Display of "P" plate

  • According to regulation 12K(1) and the Thirteenth Schedule of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations (Cap.374B), the holder of a probationary driving licence is required to display a "P" plate made of reflex-reflecting material in the following positions:
 
  • For a private car or a light goods vehicle, a Small Plate shall be securely fixed at the front and rear of the motor vehicle, or on the left-hand side of the front and rear windscreens of the motor vehicle, in such a manner that the plates are clearly visible.
  • For a motor cycle or a motor tricycle, a Small Plate3  shall be securely fixed at the front and rear of the motor vehicle.
   
   Remarks
 

1.

This refers to an application under regulations 12B(1) and 31 of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations (Cap. 374B), including first time applications and applications to retake the driving test.

2.

Twelve months from the date the probationary driving licence is issued under the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations (Cap. 374B).

3.

For the probationary driving licence for motor cycle or motor tricycle issued before 9 February 2009 or is reissued or renewed within 12 months from that date, the holder can continue to use a Large Plate [the size is 225mm by 150mm].

   
"Small Plate" means a white plate:
 
  • the size of which is 150 mm by 150 mm;
  • on which the letter "P" , appearing in red, occupies an area stated in the diagram in Part I of the Thirteenth Schedule
 

Small Plate

 

Frequently asked questions

The Probationary Driving Licence Scheme
   
1.  If I am holding a probationary driving licence to drive a motor cycle, what should I do after passing a driving test for private car or light goods vehicle?

 

  • If you are holding a valid probationary driving licence to drive a motor cycle, you can add another class, say, private car, to your existing probationary driving licence free of charge with its validity date unchanged. You should renew your probationary driving licence before expiry in order to continue with the 12-month probationary driving period for the newly added vehicle class, i.e. private car.
 
How to calculate the probationary driving periods for a holder of a probationary driving licence covering different vehicle classes concurrently?
  • A probationary driving licence may cover different vehicle classes concurrently.  The probationary driving period of each vehicle class, if started on different date, shall be counted individually.
 
 
Example  
   
01.04.2009 First issue of a probationary driving licence for motor cycle
Date of completion of probationary driving period for motor cycle: 31.03.2010
 
20.05.2009 Get a probationary driving licence for private car
Date of completion of probationary driving period for private car: 19.05.2010
 
05.06.2009 Get a probationary driving licence for light goods vehicle
Date of completion of probationary driving period for light goods vehicle: 04.06.2010
 
  • On 01.04.2010, you have completed the probationary driving period for motor cycle,  therefore, you can apply for a full driving licence for motor cycle.
  • Regarding private car and light goods vehicle, you are required to continue with the probationary driving period for both vehicle classes. However, as your probationary driving licence is only valid to 31.03.2010, you shall renew your probationary driving licence before its expiry to have a valid probationary driving licence to continue with the remaining probationary driving periods for private car and light goods vehicle.
 
Why is it necessary for me to renew a probationary driving licence?
  • A probationary driving licence is valid for 12 months from the date of its issue.  If the requisite probationary driving period of any probationary vehicle class has not yet been fulfilled upon expiry of the probationary driving licence, you are required to renew the probationary driving licence to ensure that you get a valid probationary driving licence to continue with the remaining probationary driving period.  The period that you do not hold a valid probationary driving licence is excluded from calculating your probationary driving period.  A probationary driving licence can be renewed for 6 months each time.  The application for renewal of the licence may be submitted at any time within 15 days before its expiry or not more than 3 years after its expiry.

Multiple Vehicle Classes covered in a Probationary Driving Licence
   
   
4. 

If I commit a road traffic offence while driving a probationary class of motor vehicle, will it affect other probationary vehicle class(es) of my probationary driving licence?

 
  • Extension of probationary driving period or cancellation of probationary/full driving licence is subject to the driving of a relevant motor vehicle.
 
  • A relevant motor vehicle refers to any vehicle class for which you are undergoing the requisite probationary driving period at the time when you commit road traffic offence(s).
 
  • If you are holding a probationary driving licence for two vehicle classes (e.g. private car and motor cycle) and the probationary driving periods for both vehicle classes are yet to be completed, when you commit road traffic offence(s) while driving either a private car or a motor cycle, upon conviction of the offence(s), your probationary driving licence for private car and motor cycle will both be affected.
   
 
Example :
02.11.2009 Get a probationary driving licence for private car 
16.11.2009 Commit a "minor" road traffic offence while driving a private car (offence A)
04.01.2010 Get a probationary driving licence for motor cycle
20.01.2010 Offence A convicted
18.02.2010 Commit another "minor" road traffic offence while driving a private car (offence B)
22.03.2010 Offence B convicted
   
 
Result :
 
  • Offence A will affect the probationary driving licence for private car only (because the offence is committed on 16.11.2009, before the issue of a probationary driving licence for motor cycle).  The probationary driving period for private car shall be extended for 6 months. 
  • Offence B will affect the probationary driving licence for both private car and motor cycle (because the offence is committed on 18.02.2010 while holding the probationary driving licence for both vehicle classes).  The probationary driving licence for private car shall be cancelled while the probationary driving period for motor cycle shall be extended for 6 months.

Conviction after obtaining a Full Driving Licence
   
   
5. 

What will happen if I am convicted of a road traffic offence after completing the probationary driving period?

 
  • If you commit an offence during the probationary driving period, the offence will have an effect on your probationary driving licence regardless of when you are convicted.
 
  • If you have already applied for and obtained a full driving licence, upon conviction of a road traffic offence committed during the probationary driving period, your full driving licence shall be cancelled.
 
  • If only a "minor" road traffic offence is convicted, you may apply for reissue of your probationary driving licence.  You will then be able to apply for a full driving licence after satisfactory completion of the extended probationary driving period. 
 
  • If one "serious" road traffic offence or 2 or more "minor" road traffic offences are convicted, you must sit for and pass a driving test again to obtain a new probationary driving licence.  You will be eligible to apply for a full driving licence after satisfactory completion of the new probationary driving period.
 
6. 

I am a holder of a full driving licence for private car and a probationary driving licence for motor cycle.  If I am convicted of a "minor" road traffic offence committed while driving a motor cycle under the probationary driving licence, will my full driving licence for private car be cancelled?

 
  • If your full driving licence for private car was obtained through the Probationary Driving Licence Scheme and you committed the said offence during the requisite probationary driving periods for private car and motor cycle, your probationary driving period for motor cycle shall be extended for 6 months.  Similarly, your probationary driving period for private car shall also be extended for 6 months.  Therefore, your full driving licence for private car shall be cancelled, and you may apply for reissue of your probationary driving licence for private car.
 
  • If you obtained the probationary driving licence for motor cycle after you had obtained the full driving licence for private car, your full driving licence for private car will not be affected by the road traffic offence committed while driving a motor cycle during the probationary driving period.
   
 
Example :
02.11.2009 Get a probationary driving licence for private car
Probationary driving period for private car: 02.11.2009 - 01.11.2010
04.01.2010 Get a probationary driving licence for motor cycle
Probationary driving period for motor cycle: 04.01.2010 - 03.01.2011
05.10.2010 Commit a "minor" road traffic offence while driving a motor cycle (offence A)
02.11.2010 Get a full driving licence for private car
10.12.2010 Offence A convicted
   
 
Result :
 
  • On 10.12.2010, conviction of offence A will affect both the full driving licence for private car and the probationary driving licence for motor cycle.  It is because you have not yet completed the requisite probationary driving periods for both private car and motor cycle when you committed the offence on 05.10.2010.  As a result, your probationary driving period for motor cycle shall be extended for 6 months.  Similarly, your probationary driving period for private car shall also be extended for 6 months.  Therefore, your full driving licence for private car shall be cancelled, and you may apply for reissue of your probationary driving licence for private car. 
 
7. 

I am a holder of a full driving licence for motor cycle and a probationary driving licence for private car.  If I am convicted of a road traffic offence committed while driving a motor cycle under the full driving licence, will my probationary driving licence for private car be affected?

 
  • Your probationary driving licence for private car will not be affected, unless the conviction results in a disqualification of your driving licence.
 
  • If you are disqualified from driving, your probationary driving licence will also be suspended during the disqualification period.  Since the disqualification period is excluded from the calculation of the probationary driving period, the end date of your probationary driving period will be extended accordingly.

Other Relevant Information
   
   
8. 

If I have a full driving licence for private car, do I need to undergo a probationary driving period for light goods vehicle?

 
  • You are eligible to apply for a full driving licence for light goods vehicle after passing a driving test for light goods vehicle if you have been holding a full driving licence for private car for at least (that means not necessary to complete the probationary driving period for light goods vehicle):
 
  • 2 years (if your full driving licence was obtained after completing a probationary driving period), or
 
  • 3 years (if your full driving licence was obtained without undergoing a probationary driving period), otherwise, you will need to undergo a probationary driving period for light goods vehicle.
 
9. 

What is the impact of the scheme on my application for a driving licence for commercial vehicles?

 
  • In order to apply for a learner's/full driving licence for commercial vehicle classes, you must have held a full driving licence for private car or light goods vehicle for at least:
 
  • 2 years (if your full driving licence was obtained after completing a probationary driving period), or
 
  • 3 years (if your full driving licence was obtained without undergoing a probationary driving period)