New driver’s licence rules reduce youth workforce participation

This story in the Courier-Mail yesterday (Mum’s taxi staying in service longer) made me wonder about the impact of driver’s licence changes on youth workforce participation, given that having to rely on public transport or mum or dad will make it difficult for many young people to find and retain part-time employment:

THE parental taxi is staying on the road for longer than it used to as more young people put off getting their driver’s licence until their mid-20s.

Transport and Main Roads statistics show changes to licensing introduced in 2007 have led to more people delaying their driving test until later.

Since 2007, the number of learners has blown out by 70 per cent, growing from 105,751 to 179,709 in 2011.

Almost 20 per cent of those on their L-plates are now aged 20 to 24 years, up from 15 per cent two years ago, and the number of 19-year-old learners has climbed from 10,450 to 14,228 since 2009.

Once drivers turn 25, they no longer have to complete the 100-hour logbook, which is a requirement for learners aged from 16 to 24.

Australian Driver Trainers Association’s Alan Farley said the logbook system was a burden for many young people, particularly those without access to a car.

“It’s just a too-hard situation if they haven’t got easy access to a vehicle, because having to do the 100 hours through a driving school is very expensive,” Mr Farley said.

The ABS labour force data (from super table LM8) support my hypothesis, as labour force participation among 15 to 19 year olds in Queensland has fallen over the last few years (although I acknowledge in part this may be due to a weaker labour market):

This is definitely worthy of further investigation.

Note: the labour force participation rate is calculated as the sum of employed and unemployed persons (those actively looking for work) divided by the population in that age group.

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