The crash risk for drivers is highest in the first 6-12 months of solo driving. Young adults (aged 17-24 years) are one of the most at-risk groups on the road. They are 2 ½ times more likely to be killed in a crash than any other age group.


What is the difference between a “novice” and “young” driver or rider?

  • For the purpose of this fact sheet, a young driver/rider is defined as aged    17-20 years; however traditionally in road safety research, young drivers/ riders include those up to 25 years of age.
  • Novice drivers/riders are “new to the road” (ie. they hold provisional licenses and are in their first years of solo driving or riding).
  • Young novice drivers/riders therefore are young adults who are comparatively new to the experience of driving or riding on the road.   Young drivers/riders
  • Young drivers/riders have a disproportionately high rate of involvement in road crashes.2  Their significantly higher crash and fatality rates are found not only across Australia, but around the world.  Whilst crash rates have steadily declined over recent decades, young drivers and riders continue to be killed at rates that far exceed those of older, more experienced drivers/riders.
  • For young drivers/riders in Queensland in 2010:4
    • 14.6% of the licensed driver/rider  population was aged 17-24 years;
    • One in five persons killed on the road were aged 17-24 years;
    • 58% of drivers aged 17-24 years were killed in a single-vehicle crash;
    • 79% of these drivers were male;
    • 85.7% of young adult road users  were judged to be at fault in the crash; and
    • One in four of all fatalities arose from crashes involving young drivers or motorcycle riders.
  • Each fatal car crash has been estimated to cost more than AUD$2.2 million, with casualty crashes costing more than AUD$500,000 each.5
  • Research has also shown that for each young driver fatally injured in a crash, another 1.3 persons (their passengers or other road users) are also killed.

Novice drivers/riders

  • Novice drivers are especially overrepresented in single-vehicle crashes and those crashes involving:
    • Running into the back of another vehicle;
    • Turning right at intersections; and
    • Running off the road or losing control of their vehicle, particularly on a curve.
  • In Queensland in 2010:4
    • 5.3% of the driving population had a   provisional driving licence; and
    • One in 10 drivers/riders killed had a   provisional driving licence.
  • In Queensland, between 1 January 2000 and 1 December 2009, there were 94,598 crashes involving a young  driver aged 16-24 years.  Of these crashes:
    • more than half (58%) resulted in an  injury or a fatality; and ;
    • two thirds (63.8%) involved a male  driver.

Why are novice and young drivers/riders at risk?

  • There are some characteristics of novice and young drivers/riders that place them at higher risk of a road crash.
  • These include:
    • Young drivers/riders are still developing their psychomotor, visual perception and hazard perception skills associated with driving and riding. This inexperience places all young novice drivers/riders at risk on the road.
    • Young novice drivers/ riders tend