Young, Inexperienced, and on the Road

  • Do Novice Drivers Comply with Road Rules?
  • Bridie Scott-Parker, Barry Watson, Mark King, Melissa Hyde
  • Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board, December 2012, Transportation Research Board
  • DOI: 10.3141/2318-12

Do novice drivers comply with road rules?

What is it about?

While offence data can be gained from Police, many offences remain undetected, therefore this research investigated self-reported compliance with both road rules and graduated driver licensing rules in Queensland, Australia.

Why is it important?

A small proportion of learners reported engaging in a number of general road rule violations such as completing illegal U-turns, not indicating when changing lanes, not wearing their seat belts, and carrying more passengers than they could fit in their car. For each of these measures, a considerably greater proportion of these young drivers reported engaging in these behaviours as P platers. A relatively large proportion of young learner drivers reported driving over the speed limit when they were unlikely to be detected, particularly up to 10km/h over the speed limit, and speeding when overtaking. Again, a considerably larger portion of these learners reported in engaging in the same behaviours, and to a larger extent, when they were P platers.


Dr Bridie Scott-Parker
University of the Sunshine Coast

Intervention efforts (including education, enforcement, and engineering) should target the risky behaviour of learner drivers, who are ostensibly engaging in these risky driving behaviours whilst supervised by a suitably qualified experienced driver (for whom there could also be ramifications). This is particularly important as behaviours that are learnt during the learner phase (e.g., speeding) are engaged in more commonly and by greater margins as P platers, the period during which young novice drivers are at greatest risk of road crash during their driving lifetime.

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