Graduated driver licensing – a review of some current systems

  • Published: TRL PPR529, January 2001
  • Authors: C Baughan, H Simpson
  • Date Added: 09 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018
  • Format: html


TRL was asked by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions to undertake a review of graduated licensing and related systems as part of a project to review the practical driving test.


A literature review of the published evaluations of licensing systems in other countries and of some other relevant research.

Key Findings:

  • The review has identified several elements of licensing systems that have been effective in other countries, address recognised aspects of the novice driver safety problem and could be considered for introduction in Britain.

  • However, even where there is good evidence that an element has been effective in another country, prediction of the likely benefits in Britain is difficult.

  • Despite this caveat, a serious case can be made for introducing some elements of graduated licensing, or graduated learning, systems in Britain.

  • Results from Sweden indicate that increasing the amount of experience gained by learner drivers while they are being supervised by another driver is very effective at reducing their accident liability once they are allowed to drive solo.

  • In other words, it appears that some of the learning responsible for the steep decline in accident liability currently seen in the first year or two of solo driving in Britain would take place in relative safety if the driver were being supervised.

  • Novice drivers in Britain do have problems with alcohol, night driving, and passengers, and there is good reason to expect benefits from measures that address these problems directly.

The emerging indications of where current driver training and education are deficient, and how they could be improved, offer the likelihood of our being able to develop training for pre and/or post solo driving that could be incorporated in licensing requirements with confidence that it would improve safety.