Key risks

The “Fatal Five” factors include:

  • Speeding
  • Drink & Drug Driving
  • Failing to wear seatbelts
  • Driving whilst tired
  • Distraction

RACQ advises that the 3 highest risk situations are:

  • P1 provisional drivers - are at risk of crashing 3 times more in the first year
  • Driving with friends – risk of a crash is much higher when driving with passengers
  • Night driving

Key facts

  • You need a current C/CA Learner Licence or equivalent before you can learn to drive a car
  •  You may apply for the Learner Licence when you are at least 16 years of age
  • The Learner Licence will be issued for a three year period

  • You must display L-Plates at the front and rear of the vehicle at all times when learning to drive

  • You must carry your license when driving

  • Your blood alcohol concentration must be 0.00 when you hold a Learner or Provisional Licence

  • Your supervisor must sit next to you in the vehicle and must have held a current open licence for at least one year for the class of vehicle that you are learning to drive in

  • You cannot use a mobile phone of any type (even on hands free) under any circumstances while driving

  • No one in the vehicle is allowed to use a mobile phone on loudspeaker.

  • Remember to remove the L plates from the front and rear of the vehicle at the end of each lesson

  • It is a driving offence for a non-learner driver to be displaying L plates on a vehicle

The statistics

Driver fatalities

The following key road toll statistics sourced from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics highlight the risk that young drivers face on Queensland roads.

Figure 1 – Queensland Driver Fatalities by Drivers and Riders, 1 Jan 2008 – 31 Aug 2012


A breakdown of the Queensland driver fatalities by driver age and gender are shown below in Figure 1. Between the periods 1 January 2008 to 31 August 2012, 23% percent of all driver fatalities occurred where the driver was between the ages of 17 and 25 and 81% percent of driver fatalities occurred when a male was driving1.

Figure 2 – Queensland Driver Average Fatalities per 10,000 Licensed Drivers / Riders, 1 Jan 2008 – 31 Aug 2012


When these figures are broken down to show the likelihood of involvement in a fatal crash per 10,000 licensed drivers, the magnitude of risk faced by younger drivers becomes even more apparent. Figure 2 below shows that young drivers aged 17-25 are at least 50% more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than other motorists under 75 years of age2

In the most recent report released by the Queensland Government on road safety statistics, “2010 Year in Review”, the data reveals that provisional drivers are 1.5 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than any other licence holder3. Provisional licence holders have also been identified as most at risk during the first year of their provisional licence. For this reason it is imperative that young drivers are provided sufficient education and experience as Learners, so that they are equipped with the necessary skills and attitudes to reduce their risk of involvement in crashes once they become provisional drivers.


  1. Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Australian Road Deaths Database. Accessed 03/10/2012 

  2. Information calculated using licence figures provided via RACQ correspondence with Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, 03/10/2012
    Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, 2010 Year In Review Road Crash Report. Accessed 03/10/2012

High risk situations

The “Fatal Five” factors associated with increased risk of being involved in a serious or fatal crash are:

  1. Speeding

  2. Drink & Drug Driving

  3. Failing to wear seatbelts

  4. Driving whilst tired

  5. Distraction

However the RACQ has also outlined the following additional high risk situations for young drivers in a submission provided to the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads on young driver safety:

  • P1 Provisional Drivers

    The risk of crashing is three times higher for those who are in the first year of their probationary licence, when compared to a more experienced driver. The crash-risk declines significantly after they have gained more than six months experience driving unsupervised

  • Driving with Friends

    For young probationary drivers, the risk of being involved in a crash is much higher when driving with passengers than when driving on their own

  • Night Driving

    When driving between the hours of 10pm and 5am a new probationary driver is six times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than any other driver

In many of these situations it is not only a lack of ability to drive the vehicle that contributes to crashes, but an increased participation in risk taking activities as well. Parents therefore have a responsibility to provide a good example of safe road use to any children in their presence, regardless of how early their ages. Parents’ attitudes towards speeding, drink driving and risk taking, as well as bad driving habits and examples of poor driving in general, can influence children’s attitudes and behaviours in relation to road use later in life.


  1. Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Limited, “Queensland Youth – on the road and in control: A discussion of ways to improve young driver safety”, Traffic & Safety Department – 2006