Getting a driver licence can be a lifeline

STAYING SAFE: Learning to drive safely takes time and states around Australia have varying graduated licence schemes designed to spread out the process.

STAYING SAFE: Learning to drive safely takes time and states around Australia have varying graduated licence schemes designed to spread out the process.

Getting a driver licence helps improve access to education, employment, health and other community activities.

It can be a lifeline for many people, especially those who live in remote or isolated communities as having a driver licence can be the difference between getting a better job, being able to get to TAFE or to access health services.

Unfortunately, young drivers are over-represented in road crashes owing to a range of factors including inexperience, especially in complex driving situations, motivational factors, the impact of peers, and broader lifestyle factors relating to this age group.

The NSW Government' has a Graduated Licensing Scheme as part of its commitment to road safety and the Towards Zero campaign to reduce the road toll. Other states have similar graduated licence schemes.

"Learning to drive safely takes time and in NSW the Graduated Licensing Scheme spreads the learning process over four years to help new drivers gain experience and become safer drivers," NSW Deputy Secretary for Safety, Environment and Regulation Tara McCarthy said.

Since the introduction of the GLS in 2000 in NSW young driver deaths have more than halved.

"New drivers 'graduate' to the next licence step as they gain more driving experience and their skills improve, going from learner, to P1, P2 and then finally a full, unrestricted licence, while gaining 120 hours of driving experience along the way."

Despite making up only around 15 per cent of all licence holders, younger drivers represent almost a quarter of annual road fatalities. P1 drivers are also around 10 times more likely to be in a crash than learner drivers.

Since the introduction of the GLS in 2000 young driver deaths in NSW have more more than halved although young people remain over-represented.

"Research tells us that the accumulation of driving experience across a range of varied and challenging situations during the learner phase is likely to be the greatest contributor to reduced crash risk in solo driving for novice drivers," Ms McCarthy said.

Supervising drivers play a crucial role in assisting learners to develop safe driving skills, build their driving experience, promote positive attitudes toward other road users and complete their on-road driving hours.

"Learner drivers who increase their supervised on-road experience can reduce their crash risk by 30 per cent, in the first two years of solo driving," Ms McCarthy said.

Transport for NSW has developed a free face-to-face workshop 'Helping Learner Drivers Become Safer Drivers' to assist parents and supervisors of learner drivers to support them in their role as supervising drivers.

Learner drivers might also find it helpful to have some lessons with a professional driving instructor.

When looking for a driving instructor it is worth making sure that you contact a driving school that can offer quality tuition.

Although it may cost a little more, it makes good sense to be safely prepared to be successful on your driving test.