Centre for Road Safety

National graduated licensing scheme

Graduated licensing schemes (GLS) are one of the most effective ways to reduce youth road trauma. These evidence based schemes help reduce the number of young drivers in crashes. They provide a staged approach to driver licensing and reduce the impact of risk taking behaviour associated with younger drivers.

National road trauma data shows that deaths among the 15 to 24 age group dropped by 29 per cent over the past 10 years. Each Australian jurisdiction has achieved reductions, largely because of the introduction of GLS models in all states and territories.

Despite the reduction in fatalities, young drivers remain the most over-represented group of drivers involved in crashes on our roads. More than 1600 young drivers aged from 15 to 24 years have died on Australian roads in the past five years. Continued improvements to GLS models in each jurisdiction could reduce this level of trauma even further.

While the implementation of the GLS model across Australian jurisdictions varies because of their different stages of development, the path followed by most states and territories includes the essential elements of a learner permit period, followed by a provisional period (usually in two stages) that includes a number of restrictions, before a full licence can be gained.

Policy framework

The Australian Graduated Licensing Scheme policy framework (PDF, 381Kb) was commissioned by Transport for New South Wales, on behalf of the Austroads Road Safety Task Force.

The report reviewed current Australian young driver licensing schemes and collected input from of all states and territories. Although there are many differences between the schemes and how they are implemented, many of the jurisdictions agreed on the development of a national GLS policy framework that:

  • Provides different jurisdictions with goals to aim for regardless of the GLS measures they currently have in place
  • Encourages main principles, rather than one definitive model with all elements specified
  • Guides jurisdictions, rather than prescribing one model
  • Ensures that changes to improve the convenience of the GLS for novice drivers do not undermine the overall safety benefits

To advise governments and communities on how to improve novice driver safety, road safety authorities must focus on the best ways of reducing fatalities and serious injuries.