Turning 16 is a momentous occasion, as it is at this age that you can finally get your learner’s permit to begin learning to drive. However, there is more to the process than simply getting older; there are steps you need to take before you get started to ensure you are on a path to success.
Here’s what you need to do to get your learner’s permit in Western Australia.
Step 1 – Learn the Rules of the Road
Before you can get your learner’s permit, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have an understanding of road rules, laws and requirements for driving in WA. You can view the WA Driver’s Handbook online from the Department of Transport, or pick up a paper copy at your local Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) centre.
Be sure to read the entire book and pay careful attention to the contents around road rules and legal requirements. You never know which topics will come up on your driving test, so it is important to have a solid grasp of all the information.
It can also be beneficial to take a pre-learner driver’s safety course. This will give you a strong background in road safety and local WA road rules that you can take with you when you begin driving. With a more hands-on learning approach, this method can be beneficial for those who don’t learn well simply by reading and would like a bit more personalised attention to get through the material.
Step 2 – Complete Your Learner’s Permit Application
Next, you’ll need to fill out your application form and lodge it with Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS).
A manual transmission licence will cover automatic vehicles as well, but an automatic licence will prohibit you from driving manual vehicles. If you wish to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, you’ll need to take your driving test (Practical Driving Assessment) in this type of vehicle.
Otherwise, you’ll only be permitted to drive automatics, even when fully licensed.
In addition to the application itself, you’ll also be required to provide proof of identity. This could include a passport, birth certificate or other government-issued identification. Without proof of identity, you won’t be able to progress towards getting your learner’s permit in WA, so don’t forget to bring the necessary documents with your application.
Finally, you’ll need to pay the fees associated with your application and the learner’s permit tests. Once you have paid the necessary fees, you’re ready to move on to testing.
Step 3 – Pass the Theory Test
Remember the Driver’s Handbook from Step 1? Here is where that knowledge will come in handy.
Before you can get your WA learner’s permit, you must pass the Computerised Theory Test (CTT). This tests your grasp of the rules of the road, driver safety and other important topics. You’ll take the test on a computer at your local DVS centre or regional agent, and there is no need for any technical computer skills.
The test includes a selection of 30 multiple-choice questions. In order to achieve a passing score, you must answer at least 24 of these questions correctly. If you don’t pass on your first attempt, you will have as many chances as you need to take the test again. However, you’ll need to come back another day, as same-day retesting is not permitted.
You’ll also have to pay a fee for each subsequent test, so it is in your best interest to study the material thoroughly so you can pass the test in as few attempts as possible.
Typically, appointments are not required for the CTT, though some testing centres do recommend it. Be sure to check with your local agency before showing up to verify its specific policies.
No matter where you take your CTT, though, you will not be able to use your mobile, Driver’s Handbook or other references. You’ll need to answer all of the questions from memory, without any assistance.
Step 4 – Verify Your Eyesight
Of course, vision is a key sense when it comes to driving, so to get your learner’s permit in WA, you’ll first need to prove that you can see properly. If you wear glasses, contact lenses or other visual aids, you’ll need to bring these with you for your test. Your permit will have a designation that says you are only allowed to drive whilst wearing the necessary visual aids.
The test itself is simple and straightforward, similar to what you might expect from a visit to the eye doctor. You’ll be shown a series of letters or numbers and have to identify them to show that you can see them clearly. If you are unable to pass this test, you may need to visit your eye doctor for prescription visual aids to get your vision up to the necessary standards. With these aids in place, you can then retake the vision test for your learner’s permit.
Step 5 – Notify DVS of Any Applicable Medical Conditions
In some cases, you may need to declare any medical conditions or medications on your application. Some conditions and medications can interfere with your ability to drive, so it is crucial that you not skip this important step.
For example, some allergy medications can make you drowsy, and conditions like ADHD and epilepsy can interfere with your ability to focus on the road. Not all conditions and medications need to be listed on your application, as they don’t all affect driving ability, but it is better to err on the side of caution and list anything you think might be relevant.
Step 6 – Prepare to Learn to Drive
Once you have submitted your application, paid the necessary fees and passed the required tests, you’ll be awarded your learner’s permit, which you can expect to arrive in the mail within about two weeks. Armed with your learner’s permit, you are now ready to start learning to drive with a supervising driver.
To start off your driving journey with safe habits, consider taking formal driving lessons. It’s also recommended that your supervising driver sit in on the lessons so they can be brought up to speed with any new road rules.
You’ll get personalised attention as you learn the basics of being behind the wheel, and our expert instructors are always ready to answer all of your questions to ensure you are as prepared as possible when it comes time to take your road test (Practical Driving Assessment) to get your provisional licence. Our instructors can even provide a practice test to relax your nerves before your sit the learner drivers test for real.
Frequently Asked Questions
To get a learner’s permit in WA, you must complete a learner’s permit application and pass the theory test. The theory test consists of 30 multiple-choice questions; you must answer at least 24 questions correctly to pass.