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Provisional Licence

Here is how the new South African Driving Licence might look

The Department of Transport has announced it plans to introduce a “provisional” driver’s license in South Africa.

Although details regarding the new licence are scarce, it seems that the current regulations will be amended to include three types of  driving license in South Africa:

1. A learner’s licence

2. A provisional licence

3. A driving license.

The bill is still in the draft proposal stage and is subject to a full public participation process and government review.

New drivers will go through three phases or stages. They start by acquiring a learner’s license, progress to a provisional license, and only then receive a full driver’s license.

Graduated or immediate licensing laws is a common strategy for improving the safety of new drivers in many countries around the world.

The challenge will be to integrate it into  the licencing  system in South Africa with the least cost to both the 

Government (tax payers) and the new drivers.  The biggest challenge will be not to force South Africans to stand in line for hours to wait and pay for yet another licence that most believe they will never pass without a bribe, but it can be done.

According to Arrive Alive in a article: Driver Experience, Driver Inexperience and Road Safety  “Inexperienced drivers tend to underestimate hazardous situations and tend to disobey many of the Rules of the Roads”.  A provisional driving licence may be one of the solutions. Including  a hazard perception test in the Learner’s Licence test may be another.

Underestimate hazardous situations

Our drivers  are tested extensionally on observations, but the connection between observations and hazard perception is never  made.  Most do not even know what hazard perception is!  Including a  hazard perception test in the learner’s  licence test like in the UK  and Australia, will be cost effective and relatively easy to implement.


It  is a nerve racking experience for new drivers  to be on the road  on their own after passing  the driving test.  The “P” displayed  on their vehicle tells other road users that the vehicle is being driven by a new driver and that they should be patient and considerate. Just as the red “L” signal  other drivers to be patient. 

Countries like Australia make use of  a logbook to ensure new drivers are gaining experience in night time driving and driving  in hazardous  weather under guidance of an qualified driver.

Some countries restrict provisional drivers’ speed, as well as night time driving and highway driving until a novice driver is more experienced. 

Dangerous driving  — Disobeying the Laws of the Road

Typically a provisional driver with serious and  multiple traffic violations cannot  receive a driving licence without

further training.

The problem here is how to  advance from a provisional driving  licence to a permanent driving licence without going through the whole testing procedure again.  A possible solution is to replace the temporary licence with a provisional licence. After the prescribed period the provisional licence will automatically replaced by  a permanent driving licence unless the provisional driver was responsible for an accident or guilty of serious traffic violations.  There will be no extra cost for either the driver  or the government  in issuing a provisional licence instead of a temporary licence.

“In a nutshell, people who pass their theory and driving test will not be issued a full driver’s license initially.  Instead, they will be given a provisional driver’s license and be subject to restrictions for a period of time, until they obtain a full

driver’s license.”


Those who receive an intermediate, provisional or probationary license may drive without supervision, although driving at certain times (typically after midnight until around sunrise) and driving with passengers in the vehicle may require the presence of a supervising driver who is fully licensed. Drivers typically must remain free of moving violations and at-fault accidents for a specified period of time. In some places, drivers with these licenses must have no alcohol or other drugs in their blood while they are driving, and may be restricted to certain maximum speeds and from using mobile phones. In some jurisdictions, an intermediate, provisional or probationary driver is required to display a P sign on the outside of the vehicle to indicate to other road users and police of their license status (and hence of restrictions that may apply).

Receipt of a full drivers license typically requires a specific minimum age, a minimum time period of driving experience, and may require the passing of a final road test of driving skills or the passing of a hazard perception test

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