Why is Brake campaigning for progressive licensing for young and newly qualified drivers?

In 2022, 4,935 people were killed or seriously injured from a crash involving a young driver [1]. A progressive licensing system with minimum periods for learning, enhanced testing and training, and measures to reduce the risks associated with carrying peer-age passengers and driving at night, could reduce the number of deaths and injuries involving young drivers by 20–40%.

  • Young drivers aged 17–24 are at greater risk than other drivers because of age and inexperience.
  • 1 in 5 drivers crash within a year of passing their test.
  • Typical brain development means young drivers are often more likely to take risks and are less able to regulate their impulses or understand the consequences of their decisions.
  • A progressive licensing system – which introduces elements such as a minimum learning period and a restriction on driving at night – has proved successful in reducing road deaths and injuries of young drivers in other countries [2].
  • A similar system in New Zealand, which also reduced the number of similar-aged passengers a newly licensed driver can carry, led to a 23% reduction in car crash injuries for 15–19-year-olds, and a 12% reduction for 20–24-year-olds [3,4].
  • There is good evidence that additional hazard perception training is another effective way to improve driver safety [5,6].