Young drivers

Young driver handed keys

If you've just passed your driving test - congratulations!

But research shows that newly qualified drivers are a particular vulnerable group. Whilst newly qualified drivers only make up about 7% of the driving population they have 21% of the injury collisions. One in five newly qualified drivers have a crash within a year. However, the accident liability is reduced by nearly half after two years of driving experience.

Remember newly qualified drivers are still on "probation" for a period of two years but if you clock up six points or more during this period you will lose your licence and revert to learner status again. Drivers have to retake both the theory and practical parts of the test.

The main penalty point offences are...

  • Speeding: 3-6 points
  • Going through a red light: 3 points
  • Careless driving: 3-9 points
  • Driving without insurance: 6-8 points
  • Failing to stop after an accident: 5-10 points

If you run six or more penalty points, you'll get a letter telling you your licence is no longer valid. You should inform your insurance company immediately.You will have to apply for a new provisional licence to continue driving as a learner.

Remember, as a learner...

  • You can't drive on the motorway
  • You must display L plates
  • You can't drive a car unless you're accompanied by someone over 21 who has had a full driving licence for at least three years
  • You're limited to less powerful motorbikes

Facts and stats

  • One in three road accidents involves men under the age of 20
  • Young male drivers - despite passing the driving test more easily than females - are involved in a higher number of accidents
  • If involved in an accident, a male driver aged 17-20 years is nine times more likely to be at fault than a driver aged 31-40 years with the same length of driving experience


  • More women aged 17-19 years die as passengers than as drivers
  • Young drivers are twice as likely to die in a road crash when carrying passengers of their own age
  • One young passenger makes an accident twice as likely, two or more makes it five times as likely
  • Newly qualified drivers admit that their driving is adversely affected by the presence of their peers - and conversely improves when they are accompanied by their parents or other mature adults