The crash involvement of unlicensed drivers in Queensland

Watson, Barry C. (1997) The crash involvement of unlicensed drivers in Queensland. In Road Safety Research and Enforcement Conference, 9-12 November, Hobart, Tasmania.


Despite on-going improvements in traffic law enforcement practices and technology, unlicensed driving remains a serious road safety problem in Australia. Among a range of concerns, there is growing evidence linking unlicensed driving with a cluster of other high-risk factors, including drink driving, youthfulness and single-vehicle crashes. In order to explore this problem, an investigation was undertaken into the crash involvement of unlicensed drivers in Queensland during the period 1992-96. The analysis showed that unlicensed drivers and motorcycle riders are significantly over-represented in severe crashes compared with licensed drivers. In the absence of adequate exposure data, it is unclear whether this is primarily indicative of differences in the behaviour of unlicensed drivers or of under-reporting of minor crashes by this group. Nevertheless, the results suggest that unlicensed drivers are more likely to engage in higher risk behaviours than licensed drivers. Serious casualty crashes involving these drivers are more likely to involve alcohol and drugs, motorcycle use, exceeding the speed limit and excessive speed for the conditions, and to occur on the weekend and at night (ie. recreational times). The results also suggest that unlicensed drivers do not represent a uniform group. The drivers most at risk of being involved in a serious crash were those who did not possess an appropriate class of licence for the vehicle they were driving. These drivers were predominantly males riding motorcycles. Drivers who were disqualified or cancelled at the time of the crash had a similar level of risk to those who had never been licensed, while the sub-group with the lowest risk was those with expired licences. The results draw into question the common assumption that unlicensed drivers tend to drive in a relatively safe manner in order to avoid detection. The implications for driver management policy and research are discussed.

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ID Code: 1555
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: unlicensed drivers, road safety, watson, Barry Watson, high, risk factors, drink driving, youthfulness, single, vehicle crashes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1997 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 09 Jun 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:25

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