What are ‘P Plates’ and what does the ‘P’ stand for?

P Plates = Probationary driver (indicating you are a fairly new qualified driver)

Although P plates are not compulsory, you are strongly recommended to use these once you have passed your driving test as they help to warn other road users that you are a new driver and to be more patient.

Is there a law to use P Plates?

Currently there are no laws in force in the UK about having to display P plates on your vehicle. Some people believe that P plates should be made compulsory for newly qualified drivers, for safety reasons.

In other countries such as New South Wales and Australia, new drivers must display P plates for a minimum of 24 months by law, observe extra speed limits and have zero alcohol.

There have been similar discussions to possibly introduce a similar scheme here in the UK, where all new drivers must display p-plates for the first six month of passing their test.

Should I use P Plates?

Once you’ve passed your test, it’s recommended that you use P plates until you feel confident driving alone, within different situations as well as in a range of weather conditions too. Depending on the driver, this could potentially take weeks or months.

Unfortunately, P plates are frowned upon by most newly qualified drivers as they seem uncool and too similar to L plates. However if this is the case, it is a good idea to keep a set in your car. You may want to use them if you are traveling on a motorway for the first time, or visiting an unfamiliar place.


  1. If you are not confident to be driving alone safely and efficiently, you should not pass your driving test. Displaying ‘P’ plates shows that you have no confidence in your own skill and therefore should not be on the road.

    • Not at all you can’t say that what so ever I recently passed my test a month ago with flying colours how ever it is other road users that can cause problems speeding, being impatient when your abiding by speed limit and recklessness

    • Wat a load of nonsense doing your lessons in one car is totally different to passing and trying to get use to another car its also challenging to actually get in your own car without an instructer beside you so therefore p plates are good to show other drivers you are a goid driver but are still getting use to doing it alone

  2. Not at all I feel pretty confident in my driving I have took mine off now but it’s other road users that make you nervous/cautious as you may be abiding speed limits roads etc ect but other drivers can be idiots, impatient and recklessness. Yes not all drivers but you do also get a lot of idiots on the road

  3. With ‘L’ plates, most other road users automatically hate you. With ‘P’ plates you are susceptible to the same abuse by other road users as with ‘L’ plates on. I am a fully qualified driving instructor with extremely high first time pass rates, and drive with ‘L’ plates on for on average 9 hours each day, 5 days per week, so I experience this multiple times on a daily basis. I advise against my newly qualified pupils to put ‘P’ plates on for this exact reason.

    • I think totally the opposite. I think most people remember learning and always allow someone with L plates extra time or space and are very considerate. There will always be a few idiots, but they would be idiots whether you have L plates on or not. Someone who is pretty new to driving is still learning how to anticipate the movements of others and if a P gets them a bit more consideration then that’s got to be a good thing.

  4. I think P plates sound like a great idea, even if your country doesn’t require them. I know that when I was a new driver, I was worried that people would drive too aggressively around me. It seems like a smart way to keep young drivers and new drivers safe while they are still adjusting to the rules of the road.

  5. Im a learner just now and pretty confident with my driving ability its when you get road bullies that’s when my confidence goes. Beeping at roundabouts then beeping when im actually going the speed limit im supposed to be going at. This is with my instructor can only imagine the abuse ill get with p plates on.