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January 18, 2017
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March 29, 2017

Understanding the Fatal Five


Learning to drive is more than perfecting your parallel parking method. Theory is just as important as practice. The Australian Government has made many campaigns aimed at learner drivers, several of them focusing on the Fatal Five.


What are the Fatal Five?

These are the five major causes of fatalities and accidents on the road. These apply to drivers of all ages, including learners. The Queensland Government has a special section dedicated to the Five under the Join the Drive to Save Lives slogan. They’re listed below.


Driving while distracted

This factor bumped the Fatal Four up to Five. Younger drivers are affected thanks to passengers their own age taking their attention, as well as looking at their mobile phones. Three out of five respondents in the 18-24-year bracket reported receiving or sending texts while driving.


Under the influence

This includes alcohol and substances. While it’s everyone’s right to have a good time, that doesn’t mean responsibility is invalid. The general advice is to have a designated driver who drops people home. Another possibility is the “mate’s motel”. This means letting friends stay over instead of having them risk the drive (or the walk).



People should have learned this before they even went for their learner’s test! In a crash, if anyone isn’t strapped in there’s more chance of serious injury. Crashes cause fatal head injuries, even at what’s considered a “minor speed”.



Learner drivers have “speed limit” drilled into them during lessons. But once they get their provisional license, there’s a case of amnesia. The cost of treatment in hospitals thanks to speeding is estimated at $612 million.



Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. 17 hours without sleep is like having a 0.05 BAC. The most at-risk times for driving fatigue is between 2am – 6am and 2pm – 4pm.  

The Fatal Five factors are responsible for hundreds of deaths and crashes annually. Learning to drive is important, but so is having an understanding of the risks.


Further information

Join the Drive Home Page

RACQ Learn2Go Guide for Learners