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Updated: 10 December 2014

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The law provides for some exemptions to certain legal requirements. When applying for an exemption you're seeking to avoid a legal requirement so you need to prove why you shouldn't have to comply. Exemptions aren't granted automatically - you have to meet the grounds set out in law. This section explains what the exemptions are and what you'll need to show when applying for them.

About exemptions

The driving exemptions allowed by law relate to the requirements for:

To apply for an exemption will cost you a fee of $27.20. This is non-refundable whether or not your exemption is granted.

If you're successful in gaining an exemption, we'll write to you and, where applicable, provide you with a certificate or letter of exemption which you must carry with you at all times while driving.

What you need to apply for an exemption

You need to prove to us that giving you the exemption will not put you or other road users at significantly greater risk, and that either:

  • you already largely meet the legal requirement and that further compliance is unnecessary, or
  • the action you're taking or providing for is at least as effective as actually complying with the legal requirement, or
  • the legal requirement is clearly unreasonable or inappropriate, or
  • events have made the legal requirement unnecessary or inappropriate.

To apply:

  • Print and complete the exemption application form to make your case.
  • Attach any supporting evidence, eg a letter from your doctor or overseas licensing authority.
  • Send the application to the address on page 2 of the application form.
  • Pay the $27.20 fee. This is non refundable. You can pay by credit card over the phone by calling 0800 822 422, or send a cheque or money order with your application.

The possible exemptions

Wearing of bicycle helmets

You must wear a helmet if you're:

  • riding a bicycle
  • being carried as a passenger
  • being towed in a trailer by a bicycle.

Exemptions are possible on grounds of:

  • religious beliefs
  • physical disability
  • medical conditions and other such reasonable grounds.

See how to gain an exemption.

Wearing of motorcycle helmets

You must wear a helmet if you're travelling on a:

  • motorcycle
  • moped
  • all-terrain vehicle (ATV)
  • motorcycle sidecar.

However, you're not required to wear a helmet if:

  • you're on an all-terrain vehicle, a motorcycle, or a moped and
    • you're travelling up to 30 km/h, and
    • you're travelling from one part of a farm to another on the same farm or an adjoining farm owned or occupied by the same person
  • you're on an all-terrain vehicle, a motorcycle, or a moped and
    • you can prove you're a member of the Sikh religion, and
    • you're travelling up to 50 km/h.
  • you're on an all-terrain vehicle, and
    • it is fitted with a roll bar, and
    • you are occupying a seat fitted with a seat belt, and
    • the seat belt is correctly fastened

In all other cases you must apply to us for an exemption.

See how to gain an exemption.

Using safety belts and child restraints

We do not issue exemptions for the use of safety belts and child restraints. You must wear a safety belt where one is provided and you must secure children under the age of five in child restraints. See more about the detailed requirements.

However, the law provides for some exceptions to these requirements:

  • where the person has a certificate from a medical practitioner confirming use of a seatbelt or child restraint is impracticable or undesirable for medical reasons
  • if wearing a seatbelt the driver could not reasonably operate effectively the footbrake, handbrake, direction indicator, horn, windscreen wiper, choke or sun visor
  • if travelling in reverse and is unable to operate the vehicle in a safe manner
  • where the person is a taxi driver plying for hire
  • if the person is:
    • delivering newspapers, mail or other goods, or
    • servicing the vehicle, or
    • meter reading or other similar duties, or
    • spraying or other similar duties, and
    • is required to alight and re-enter the vehicle frequently, and
    • the vehicle does not exceed 50 km/h
  • if the person is an enforcement officer or prison officer travelling with another person who is not an enforcement officer or prison officer in circumstances in which it is impracticable or undesirable to wear a seatbelt
  • if the person is a driver or passenger on a bus
  • passenger service vehicles where no appropriate child restraints are available
  • goods service vehicles with an unladen weight exceeding 2,000 kg in which no seat belts are available
  • motor vehicles first registered before 1 January 1955 in which no seat belts are available
  • driving a motor vehicle that is being used by an enforcement officer in the execution of the enforcement officer's duty.

Driver licence

What we consider when you apply for an exemption

  • Any traffic infringements or driving offences you may have incurred.
  • The results of any previous tests that you may have sat.
  • The length of time that you have held your licence.
  • What has changed in your current situation that is motivating you to apply for an exemption
  • Any driving experience that you have.
  • Any risk to the safety of yourself, your passengers or other road users.

If you're applying for an exemption from any conditions of the graduated driver licensing system, we'll also consider any alternative transportation that may be available to you (eg, bus services, taxi services and parents).

We will not grant an exemption

...if we consider it will increase the risk to road safety.
Also, we don't grant exemptions where you:

  • are claiming on grounds of inconvenience or financial hardship
  • want to apply for a licence and are less than 16 years old.
  • have already held a learner or restricted licence for the required amount of time and are eligible to apply for the next stage of your licence.
  • want to be exempt from having a photo or signature digitally captured or stored.
  • want to be exempt from re-sitting the tests after being disqualified for more than 12 months

We're unlikely to grant exemptions

  • learner car driver licences (class 1)
  • learner motorcycle licences (class 6)
  • the first six months of your restricted licence
  • work purposes only (eg nanny, security, deliveries).

How to apply for a driver licence exemption

Send your application along with original copies of your supporting evidence and payment of the $27.20 non-refundable fee to the address on page 1 of the application form. You can also pay over the phone by credit card by calling 0800 822 422.