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Find out all the in-depth statistics, pass rates, common errors, and advice for driving on a learner licence in the analysis of our latest survey and industry statistics.

27 October | See disclaimer

Quick facts

  • Males in our survey were significantly more likely to exaggerate their driving hours in their learner logbook (22.7%), compared to females (16.8%)
  • 82% of Australian respondents with manual licences passed their tests on the first attempt, compared to only 74% of those with automatic licences
  • Survey results showed that drivers with automatic licences were more than twice as likely to have been in an at-fault accident when they were on their learner licence (5.4%), compared to those with manual licences (2.3%)
  • Government data reveals that manual driving tests in Queensland have had higher pass rates than automatic driving tests for the past 10 calendar years straight.

1.0 Required driving hours for learners – state by state

Under 25
Over 25
  Total Hours Night Hours
NSW 120 20
Vic 120 20
Qld 100 10
WA 50 5
SA 75 15
Tas* 80 15
NT No minimum No minimum
ACT 100 10
  Total Hours Night Hours
NSW No minimum No minimum
Vic** No minimum No minimum
Qld No minimum No minimum
WA No minimum No minimum
SA 75 15
Tas* 80 15
NT No minimum No minimum
ACT 50 5

*In April 2020, the decision was made by Tasmania’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport to allow learners to progress to an L2 licence without a practical test, reducing the absolute minimums required. This was in effect for a period in 2020, and may have affected some government and survey statistics surrounding learner drivers in Tasmania[11].

**In Victoria, anyone above the age of 21 is not required to fill out a logbook, or complete a minimum amount of hours[3].

2.0 Government-sourced learner driver statistics

2.1 Queensland’s 10 highest driving test pass rates (2011-20)[8]

Rank LGA Name Pass Rate
1st Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council 82.7%
2nd Blackall-Tambo Regional Council 82.4%
3rd Barcaldine Regional Council 79.2%
4th Livingstone Shire Council 78.6%
5th Isaac Regional Council 78.3%
6th Winton Shire Council 78.1%
7th Maranoa Regional Council 75.9%
8th Bundaberg Regional Council 75.5%
9th
North Burnett Regional Council 75.4%
10th
Hinchinbrook Shire Council 75.1%

Considering only Queensland’s results for Class C (manual car) and Class CA (automatic car) driving tests, and omitting regions with less than 200 tests across 10 years, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council emerges as having the highest pass rate for car drivers.

2.2 Queensland’s 10 lowest driving test pass rates (2011-20)[8]

Rank LGA Name Pass Rate
1st Brisbane City North 56.3%
2nd Mount Isa City Council 56.5%
3rd Logan City Council 57.0%
4th Brisbane City South 57.9%
5th Cairns Regional Council 58.0%
6th Townsville City Council 58.0%
7th Cloncurry Shire Council 58.4%
8th South Burnett Regional Council 58.8%
9th
Moreton Bay Regional Council 59.1%
10th
Mareeba Shire Council 60.6%

Again, only considering Class C and Class CA tests, and omitting regions with less than 200 tests, Queensland’s lowest pass rate belongs to Brisbane City North. Brisbane City South barely edged out its neighbouring locality, averaging a 57.9% pass rate from over 250,000 driving tests.

2.3 Queensland automatic vs manual tests[8]

Number of tests
Pass rates

There has been a noticeable shift in preferences from 2011 to 2020, with more and more Queenslanders opting to get their automatic licences, rather than manual. 2014 was the last year when there were more manual tests conducted than automatic tests, and since then, those taking tests have continually preferred automatics.

However, the one consistent trend over the last 10 years has been in pass rates. Those taking a Class C (manual) test have always had a higher pass rate than those taking a Class CA (automatic) test. It seems that if you want to secure your licence on the first attempt in Queensland, taking the added steps of learning to drive a manual might improve your chances.

2.4 Queensland pass rates booking manually, or through driving school[8]

Over the last 10 calendar years, the overwhelming trend has been that pass rates are higher for Queensland learners who book through a driving school, rather than booking privately.

2.5 New South Wales pass rates per gender for Class C licences[9]

In each of the last 10 years, male learner drivers in New South Wales have had higher pass rates than female learner drivers. This certainly doesn’t reflect in the likelihood of being involved in an accident, with Budget Direct’s 2021 survey into car accidents revealing that male respondents had a higher rate of having been involved in an accident than female respondents.

3.0 Learner driver survey results

3.1 What kind of driver’s licence do you hold?

Australia
State
Age
Gender

Mirroring what occurred in Queensland Government data (seen in section 2.3), younger drivers are more likely to have automatic licences, whereas older drivers are more likely to have manual licences. This showed in the transition in popularity from manual to automatic tests, and shows in our survey results.

Female respondents were also more likely to have an automatic licence than male respondents. Also, Queensland and Western Australia were the states that favoured manual licences the most.

But most broadly, more Australians in our survey had manual licences than automatic licences.

3.2 Were you required to complete a logbook of supervised driving to qualify for a provisional licence?

Australia
Age

Aligning with national laws, most respondents indicated they were required to complete a logbook of their driving as a learner to acquire their driver’s licence.

3.3 When you were on your learner licence, did you ever exaggerate the time you drove for, to complete your required driving hours faster?*

Australia
State
Age
Gender
Type of licence

*This question only applied to participants who indicated they were required to fill out a logbook in 3.2.

As times move, it seems that Australians are becoming more accepting of exaggerating hours on a logbook. Younger respondents (18-24) had nearly a 40% rate of exaggerating – a rate that declined as participants got older.

Tasmania was also the most honest state, with roughly 6% of respondents suggesting they’d exaggerated time driving. However, they do have one of the nation’s lowest required hours (at 80 total, 15 at night), which was reduced further during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic (down to 50 total, no minimum at night)[11].

Western Australia have some of the most relax laws regarding hour requirements as a learner, and yet, they had one of the highest rates of exaggerating hours in a logbook.

Respondents who currently hold an automatic licence were also more likely to exaggerate their time driving back on their learner logbook than those who went on to get manual licences.

3.4 How many attempts did it take for you to pass your written road rules test to qualify for your learner licence?

Australia
State
Age
Gender
Type of licence

Our results revealed that drivers who went on to get their manual licence had a fair higher rate of passing their written learner test on the first attempt than those with automatic licences. Males also responded as having higher rates of passing their written test on the first attempt, with nearly 82% not needing another go (compared to 76% of females).

3.5 How many attempts did it take for you to pass your practical driving test to qualify for your provisional licence?

Australia
State
Age
Gender
Type of licence

While there may have been a gap between females and males on the written test, the gap between them on their practical driving test is almost indistinguishable. Over 94% of males surveyed passed their driving test on their first or second attempt, compared to 91% of females.

Those driving a manual had a far higher rate of passing their driving test on the first go, which correlates with the government-sourced data shown above (in 2.3).

Tasmanian respondents had the highest rates of passing their driving test on the first attempt, with almost 86% of those with licences only needing one test. New South Wales’ respondents had the lowest rates, with roughly 66% succeeding on the first attempt.

3.6 Which of the following (if any) critical errors did you record on your practical driving test?**

Australia
State
Age
Gender
Type of licence
  Failure to stop Failure to look over shoulder Failure to indicate/signal Speeding Collision Other None
NSW 21.1% 26.6% 11.9% 7.3% 8.3% 28.4% 16.5%
Vic 22.0% 8.5% 13.6% 0.0% 15.3% 44.1% 8.5%
Qld 27.3% 20.0% 10.9% 16.4% 3.6% 30.9% 10.9%
WA 15.2% 12.1% 6.1% 24.2% 6.1% 48.5% 3.0%
SA 38.5% 7.7% 7.7% 7.7% 7.7% 23.1% 23.1%
  Failure to stop Failure to look over shoulder Failure to indicate/signal Speeding Collision Other None
18-24 25.0% 28.6% 17.9% 10.7% 10.7% 14.3% 10.7%
25-34 28.8% 25.4% 18.6% 17.0% 11.9% 20.3% 8.5%
35-44 27.1% 22.9% 4.3% 11.4% 10.0% 32.9% 10.0%
45-54 22.4% 8.6% 13.8% 10.3% 6.9% 39.7% 12.1%
55-64 9.1% 18.2% 6.8% 0.0% 2.3% 47.7% 18.2%
65+ 21.7% 8.7% 0.0% 0.0% 13.0% 56.5% 17.4%
  Failure to stop Failure to look over shoulder Failure to indicate/signal Speeding Collision Other None
Female 23.0% 16.9% 8.8% 7.4% 8.1% 34.5% 14.9%
Male 23.1% 21.6% 12.7% 11.9% 9.7% 33.6% 9.0%
  Failure to stop Failure to look over shoulder Failure to indicate/signal Speeding Collision Other None
Manual 19.4% 18.0% 9.4% 10.8% 5.0% 36.7% 14.4%
Automatic 26.6% 20.3% 11.9% 8.4% 12.6% 31.5% 9.8%

**Users were able to select multiple different errors, meaning results may not total 100%.

Failing to stop was indicated to be the most common error reported on practical driving tests across Australia. However, in New South Wales, failing to look over a shoulder proved to be the most common error.

Males reported higher rates of failing to stop, failing to look over the shoulder, failing to indicate, speeding, and experiencing collisions in their driving tests.

Otherwise, “other” was the most commonly selected response, which may have included errors such as parking, stalling, and others.

3.7 Were you ever involved in a traffic accident while driving as a learner?

Australia
State
Age
Gender
Type of licence
No Yes (At Fault) Yes (Not At Fault)
94.5% 3.7% 1.8%
  No Yes (At Fault) Yes (Not At Fault)
NSW 93.5% 5.0% 1.6%
Vic 95.3% 3.1% 1.6%
Qld 94.5% 2.5% 3.0%
WA 94.3% 4.8% 1.0%
SA 98.6% 0.0% 1.4%
Tas 90.5% 9.5% 0.0%
  No Yes (At Fault) Yes (Not At Fault)
18-24 90.3% 6.5% 3.2%
25-34 92.0% 5.6% 2.5%
35-44 90.9% 6.6% 2.5%
45-54 96.9% 1.6% 1.6%
55-64 97.6% 1.8% 0.6%
65+ 99.3% 0.0% 0.7%
  No Yes (At Fault) Yes (Not At Fault)
Female 96.1% 2.4% 1.6%
Male 92.9% 5.1% 2.0%
  No Yes (At Fault) Yes (Not At Fault)
Manual 96.4% 2.3% 1.3%
Automatic 92.1% 5.4% 2.5%

Participants who ended up getting their automatic licence recorded a 7.9% rate of being involved in traffic incidents while on their learner licence – more than double the rate of manual drivers (3.6%). Similarly, manual drivers in this study were roughly half as likely to be involved in an at fault incident (1.3%) compared to automatic licence holders (2.5%).

Despite males seemingly having a higher rate of passing their driving test, they also responded as having far higher rates of being involved in traffic incidents as a learner. 7.1% of males would record incidents on their learners, compared to only 4% of females. Males were also twice as likely to be at fault (2.4% for females, compared to 5.1% of males). This also correlates to the results of Budget Direct’s Car accident survey & statistics, which found that males had higher rates of having been involved in a car accident.

Keen to learn more?

 

References:

[1] Queensland Government, 2021, Learner logbook.

[2] New South Wales Government, 2021, Apply for a learner driver licence.

[3] Vic Roads, 2021, 120 hours driving experience.

[4] Northern Territory Government, 2020, Learner Drivers’ Guide.

[5] The Government of Western Australia, 2021, Learning to drive/ride.

[6] Government of South Australia, 2021, Learner’s permit.

[7] Tasmanian Government, 2020, Learner logbook.

[8] ACT Government, 2021, ACT driver licence information.

[9] Queensland Government, 2021, Practical driving examination results.

[10] New South Wales Government, 2021, Table 4.1.1 C-Class Driving Test Yearly pass rates by selected variables.

[11] Premier of Tasmania. 2020. More support for learner drivers.

Disclaimer: This survey was conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Budget Direct in September 2021. The survey was conducted online with a total sample size of 1,001, weighted and representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+) with driver’s licences. All other data on this website is the latest available from the named sources in this references above, and was obtained in September 2021. Auto & General Services Pty Ltd does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected in any way to the use or reliance upon this data.

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