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Driving Licenses

Young Drivers

Safety Tips for Young Drivers.

  • Get supervised driving experience in all types of weather conditions and road surfaces (clear weather, dawn/dusk, rain, high winds, dust, gravel, hill climbs, descents, etc.).
  • Get someone who is an experienced driver to supervise you lots while driving town/city rush hour traffic, around roundabouts, out on the motorway, changing lanes, urban and rural driving. etc. Don’t just practise in an urban area, make sure you get experience driving on all types of roads with a confident driver alongside to guide you as and when you may need it.
  • Be courteous when driving and think of other road users.
  • Look as far ahead as possible, and not just at the taillights of the car in front of you, which is how nose-to-tail accidents happen.
  • Put your phone away when you’re driving, or at least where you can’t see or reach for it. Driver distraction is a leading cause of crashes.
  • Don’t let passengers push you beyond your comfort zone. It’s your responsibility as the driver to stay alert, ensure how safe is safe for you, the safety of yourself, the safety of passengers, and the safety of others while driving.
  • When choosing a car, look for solid cars with technology like ABS, airbags, and pre-tensioning seatbelts.
  • Get a car with great visibility about the car.
  • Parents, family members, and those with driving experience should supervise you (the young driver/learner) as much as possible.

As a parent or guardian, let your young learners drive, even if it’s just for short distances each time. It is so important to help them get experience behind the wheel while being supervised as much as is possible and practical.

In 2008, OECD data revealed that the United Kingdom (UK) had the lowest fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres travelled when compared with other countries who were OECD members.  In this survey, the graphed data showed Australia as being 9th out of the 13 countries involved in the survey.  Where the UK had 4.9 fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres travelled, Australia had 6.9.  Denmark held the highest with 8.22.

Recently, Top Tests, UK, revealed data on various driving statistics.  Top Test’s 2018 data showed that drivers aged 16–19 were still 38% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 40–49, and drivers aged 20–29 were 65% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 40–49.  When 1000 drivers were quizzed in 2018, Top Tests found that 42% of the drivers aged 18–34 admitted to experiencing road rage at least once a week, and 14% of younger drivers experienced road rage every day that they drove.  (Source:

Across the ditch in NZ, AMI insurance claims data reveal that drivers under the age of 25-years old are most at risk of having an accident.  In the United State, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens.  Here in Australia, the government has kept a close eye on road statistics as well, and rightly so.  According to 2021 reports, there were a total of 1133 road fatalities for the 2021 year, where speeding remained the top cause of accidents; this was followed by driver distraction, and then driver fatigue.  Those aged 17 – 25 year old were the second-highest age bracket impacted by road deaths.  The 40 – 64 age group had the most road accident deaths, however it was young men who were more likely to be involved in a crash.

By March this year (2022), New South Wales had recorded the most fatal road accidents for the year (25), an increase from 2021 with (19). Queensland followed (20), Victoria (18), Western Australia (15), South Australia (7), Tasmania (6), Northern Territory (3), and the Australian Capital Territory (0)

Whether it’s travelling too fast for the conditions, using smartphones, vaping or smoking, eating, applying makeup, checking the texts – all while driving – these are the leading causes for road fatalities on Australian roads.  Driving while fatigued and, of course, drink driving or driving under the influence of some drug also causes road fatalities.

It’s sad that anyone should die, however it is the young drivers that are the top culprits for using their mobile phones while they are driving, which leads to serious and tragic accidents.  In Australia, 18 – 24 and 25 – 39 age groups reported the highest application of using mobile phones while driving.  18 – 24 year old drivers are twice as likely to receive a speeding fine.

Hamish Piercy, Fleet Risk Manager for AMI, and former New Zealand Police Officer with the serious crash unit, has over 33 years of crash investigation experience.  Hamish was unsurprised that, in New Zealand, AMI received such a high number of claims for drivers under the age of 25.  He commented: “There are a lot of great young drivers out there, and some excellent driver education programmes, but these statistics show that we can’t be complacent when it comes to driver safety. It’s an unavoidable fact that to gain experience, you have to drive. So, as a society we need to look at how we can enable that in safe ways.”

If possible, try to enrol your young family member that’s embarking on getting a driver’s license to run through a local driver training course.  Good driving courses will focus on key areas like core driving skills, reading the road ahead, distraction, inattention, and speed.  Courses that can impart crucial driving skills will enable your youngster to gain confidence, gain good driving skills and driving habits, and get plenty of positive encouragement.  These are all essential for getting out on the road to drive as safely as possible.

Safe driving everyone!

Tips for Teaching a Person Learning to Drive

It’s that time in the life of a Dad or Mum where your daughter or son has got to the age of learning to drive.  For some, this is a time where stress levels begin to rise; just the thought of having to go through busy intersections with a rather nervous learner isn’t something for the faint-hearted.  However, it can be a very rewarding time where you get to hand that little bit more independence and responsibility over to your teenager.  Here are some tips from someone who has gone through this stage in life twice; actually three times, if you include the time when I was at university and gave lessons to a good mate of mine who still hadn’t been behind the wheel of a car by the time he was 21.

First of all, the teenager will need to get a learner permit.  For this, your child needs to be 16 years old.  The only exception is in the ACT, where the minimum age is 15 years and 9 months.  In some states, you just fill in a learner licence application form, while in other states of Australia, your child must also pass a written or computer-based test on the road rules.  Some states also have an eyesight test thrown in for good measure.

Once they have their learner permit, then in most Australian states and territories the learner drivers must gain driving experience on the road before they can do the test to get their P plate.  They must do their learner driving under the supervision of a driver who holds a full unrestricted licence.  The learner will also need to complete the Hazard Perception Test, continue to gain experience, pass the Practical Driving Assessment and then get a Provisional Licence.

To get through these steps, the first hurdle is getting to know the road rules.  Reading up on the rules is, obviously, really helpful.  This can even be done just before they hit the age of being able to go for their licence.  It’s during this learning phase that I found bringing out my old ‘Matchbox’ cars (you can use any toy cars), drawing some roads on a big sheet of cardboard/paper and using them to push through the drawn-up intersections to gain a spatial birds-eye view of who gives way and why.  Works a treat!

Out on the road, they’ll learn as a passenger, however, when it comes to them getting behind the wheel, it’s a really good idea to ease them into driving in a place where there is very little traffic, just so they can get used to the car, how it stops and goes, how it sits on the road, what it feels like to control and getting to know where it begins and ends.  Even a farmer’s paddock is a nice wide open space where there is nothing close in the vicinity to accidentally hit, but you get the idea, I’m sure.

If you’re not a competent teacher, make sure that you find someone who is.  The teacher’s demeanour always influences the learner’s ability, so a firm, soothing and relaxed manner always delivers a positive rub on the learner, helping them to gain confidence and grow quickly in ability.  A harsh, scared teacher will make for a nervous learner who will quickly dislike the whole experience.  I’ve known some people who struggle to drive even years after they finally got their license, all because of the whole bad experience of learning to drive.  You can always bring in the services of a qualified driving instructor if you can’t find someone you know and trust to do the job well or if you know that your skills just won’t cut the mustard.

When it comes to the particular car that the learner will be driving, then my advice is to ensure that the car is a safe choice.  Cars with an excellent safety rating are a must for new learners.  It is madness to put your own daughter or son in something that won’t provide good protection in an event of a crash.  It’s always best that they learn to drive the car that they’ll be sitting the practical tests in.  And my advice is that they should continue to drive this car even once they have their licenses and are out on the road by themselves (at least for a year or two).

Only if a learner is a true natural and picks up driving easily would I suggest a manual vehicle for them to drive, though manual cars are getting less and less easy to find, let alone buy these days.  An automatic vehicle is so much easier to drive when you are learning, as it takes away the fear of being in the wrong gear at the wrong time, stalling at an intersection; and it’s just one less thing to do and think about while you’re getting used to driving out on the road.  I know of one young husband whose wife has been for her learner license three times and failed the practical tests.  He still insists that she learns to drive a manual car first, just like he did; because in his eyes if you learn to drive a manual, then you’re going to be a better driver in the long run.  Um… no.

Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the experience of teaching your teenager to drive.  Keep being an encourager; it is fun and you can add to the good times by going out for a coffee afterwards.