Young and Unlicensed: Risky Driving Before Entering the Licensing System

  • B. Scott-Parker, B. Watson, M. J. King, M. K. Hyde
  • Traffic Injury Prevention, May 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2011.638683

Young and Unlicensed: Risky Driving Before Entering the Licensing System

What is it about?

Around the world there is evidence that teenagers are driving on the road even before they gain their learner licence (which is usually obtained after a learner knowledge test). Pre-licence driving appears to be particularly risky because the young driver hasn’t even passed a basic knowledge test, and in many instances appear to be driving without the supervision of a qualified experienced driver. Therefore we wanted to investigate the pre-licence driving experience of young drivers in Queensland.

Why is it important?

In comparison to young drivers who didn’t report driving on the road before they had a learner licence, generally pre-licence drivers reported much more risky driving behaviours during both the learner and their provisional licence phase, including speeding and driving in response to heightened emotions such as anger.


Dr Bridie Scott-Parker
University of the Sunshine Coast

Driving on the road without a licence places not only the young driver, but also anyone else in their car with them, at great risk. The risk is also increased for anyone they are sharing the road with. Furthermore, it appears that these drivers then continue to be risky throughout both the learner and provisional licence phases. Early intervention should target risky driving behaviours, and youth detected driving without a valid learner licence appear to require targeted intervention to ensure they minimise road risks – for themselves, their vehicle occupants, and anyone else with whom they may share the road.

Read Publication

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Bridie Scott-Parker