No hands-free phones for P-plater drivers

P-PLATE drivers will be banned from using mobile phones while on the road, even in hands-free mode, under tough new licensing rules in New South Wales.

If caught speeding or otherwise breaking road rules, P-platers will have to wait an extra six months before graduating to an open licence.

Each new offence will add a six-month delay to their progression towards an unrestricted licence.

"The tenure extension will not apply if the suspension is not related to a road offence, such as defaulting on a fine or on medical grounds," a Transport for NSW spokesman said.

The changes follow 21 P-plater driver deaths already this year on NSW roads.

The driver qualification test, currently a requirement for P2 drivers to progress to an unrestricted licence, will be scrapped.

But the hazard perception test P1 drivers must pass to get their P2 licence will be brought forward and become a requirement for learner drivers to get their P1 licence.

P-platers are currently allowed to use their phone on speaker while driving, but the practice will be banned from December 1.

All other changes will come into play in November next year. -ARM NEWSDESK