Driving on a limited licence
Can be done, but strict conditions apply
Driving licences can be suspended for various reasons: excess demerit points, careless or dangerous driving, drink driving, causing an accident and many others.
Generally, if you commit one of the above offences your licence could get suspended for a period of three to 12 months, depending on the severity of the offence.
The question then becomes, what if your livelihood depends on you having a driving licence? Under the Land Transport Act 1998, the law allows you to apply for a limited licence.
To obtain a limited licence, you must satisfy the court of two factors.
First, you must show that you would suffer extreme hardship; a self-employed person who depends on driving to work is an example. If you cannot drive to work, you cannot earn an income, pay your mortgage, bills and other day-to-day essentials.
Telling the court that not having a licence would be an inconvenience to you is not enough. The devil is in the detail. Evidence must be provided of your annual income; weekly expenses; that taxi fares are unaffordable; why using public transport is not feasible; you (or your business) cannot afford to employ a driver for the suspension period; your friends or family members cannot drive you during the suspension period and so on. Consulting with us will make this process easier.
Second, you must illustrate that the people around you (your family or employer) would suffer undue hardship if you are unable to drive. ‘Hardship‘ (whether extreme or undue) is not limited to financial hardship. The court may grant a limited licence if evidence suggests that a driver may suffer emotional hardship in not being able to drive. For example, an elderly man, who lives alone and volunteers daily at his local sports club (cleans up the sports field, mows the grass, etc) may suffer mental and emotional hardship if he cannot go about his daily routine due to his suspension.
Restrictions of a limited licence
Keep in mind that ultimately the court still seeks to punish drivers who commit traffic offences. A limited licence means just that; it restricts what you can and cannot do during your suspension. You may only drive within a certain area, during a specific time period during the day and may not exceed a specific number of hours per day. Using the elderly man example above, he would only be allowed to drive within an area that includes his home, supermarket and his local sports club between X and Y hours and on Z days. Suspended drivers with limited licenses are supplied with a logbook to record this information.
If you commit a further driving offence or breach the terms of your limited licence during your suspension period, your limited licence will be terminated and your initial suspension will fall back into place.
Every situation is different
Every case has its unique circumstances and each application should be tailored to its facts and merits. If you would like to know more about limited licences and how to apply, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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