Novice driver education programme trial

2004 Young Driver Safety Forum

In 2003, 17 to 25 year olds accounted for a quarter of all road deaths, even though they made up only 12 per cent of the population. During 2003 the Australian Transport Council, comprising Australian, State and Territory Transport Ministers, began exploring the options for a best practice national programme of driver education, in light of the continuing high rate of fatalities among young and inexperienced drivers.

During 2004 the Australian Government committed to work with the states and territories to introduce a national compulsory driver education scheme for all new provisional licence holders. The scheme is to focus on providing young drivers with a better insight into the risks they face and their own limitations.

As an initial step, the Government committed $1 million in 2004–05, to be matched by the motor vehicle industry through the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and the relevant State Government, to establish a large scale trial of the scheme in one State. It was anticipated that the scheme would be rolled out nationally by 2007.

In December 2004, the Australian Government sponsored a Young Driver Safety Forum with invited participants from a wide range of fields and interests to discuss the development of a Novice Driver Education Programme.

Proposed trial

At this Forum, the Transport Ministers in the Australian, New South Wales and Victorian Governments announced a trial of a special novice driver education programme involving 14,000 young drivers in New South Wales and Victoria. A further 14,000 will be selected for a control group.

The programme will provide novice drivers with an understanding of their own limitations and an insight into how they can reduce the risks they face on the road. It aims to reduce the shocking number of young deaths on Australia’s roads.

The total cost of the trial will be $5 million. It will be jointly funded by the three governments, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, NRMA Insurance and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, as follows:

  • Australian Government (an initial $1 million)
  • Victorian Government ($1.4 million) through VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission
  • New South Wales Government ($1 million)
  • Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries ($1 million)
  • NRMA Insurance ($0.5 million)
  • Royal Automobile Club of Victoria ($0.1 million).

The progress of the drivers in the trial, as well as the control group, will be monitored for at least a year after they complete the programme. The trial will be one of the largest and most rigorous studies ever undertaken of post licence driver education.

The trial will commence in the second half of 2005 and will continue for 12 months.

For further information contact Joe Motha, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, on (02) 6274 7277 or