1368.1 - New South Wales Regional Statistics, 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2007   
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1 The number of licence holders is derived from the Driver and Vehicle System (DRIVES), the operational system of the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). The RTA collects information on licence holders in order to maintain the driver licence register as required by law. The data are then used by the RTA, Police and the community. Information is only released in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information protection Act 1998.

2 Licence information is collected under the authority of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998, and the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 1999.

3 Data collected in DRIVES cover all recordable licensing, registration and related activities in NSW.

4 In this product, data are presented on the number of driver and rider licence holders.


5 The scope of the collection is holders of current, valid driver and rider licences in NSW. Licence holders are persons aged 16 years and above, who have met the eligibility requirements to drive and/or ride a motor vehicle. A licence holder can hold more than one class of licence; however they will only be counted once as this is a count of licence holders, not licences.


6 The data presented in this product are a snapshot of licence holders with valid, current licences as at 30 June 2006.


7 The following key data items relate to the data used in this product.

8 Licence Holder: A NSW licence holder is a person who holds a NSW driver or rider licence issued by the RTA. The RTA issues licences when it deems that the person is knowledgeable about the road rules, competent, medically fit to drive safely and meets other licensing requirements. By law, licence holders must be 16 years of age or older before they are eligible to apply to drive a vehicle.


9 Each licence holder is identified by their postcode of residence. In this product data are concorded to Local Government Area (LGA) using a postcode to LGA concordance, to proportionately allocate licence holders as the population. The 2006 edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0) was used in the coding.


10 DRIVES, the on-line operational system used by the RTA, records all registration and licensing transactions between the RTA and its customers as they take place. The RTA statistics on licence holders are derived from these transactions.

11 Statistics on licensing are compiled by the Data Research Unit, Driver and Vehicle Services Branch of the RTA. The unit receives regular reports from DRIVES in the form of Management Information System (MIS) reports. MIS reports may be either transaction based or in the form of a snapshot. The data published in this product are snapshot data.


12 These data were collected using postcode geography and then concorded to Local Government Areas (LGA). The 2006 concordance has been updated from the 2001 concordance which uses 2001 ABS Census data to estimate the percentage contribution of each postcode to each LGA. An assumption underlying the concordance is that the population in the dataset is distributed evenly throughout a postcode in the same way as the Census data used to derive the concordance. This may be imprecise when the concordance is applied to a sub-population; for example, younger persons or heavy vehicle drivers.

13 As data in this collection are obtained from an administrative system, they are not subject to sampling variability. However, other inaccuracies collectively referred to as non-sampling error, may affect the data. These non-sampling errors may arise from a number of sources, including:

  • errors in data reporting by respondents;
  • errors in capturing or processing data;
  • estimation for missing or misreported data; and
  • definition and classification errors.


14 The collection of statistical information in its current format started in 1997. However, the RTA has been collecting licensing information since its inception on 1 January 1990, with a frequent count of licence holders starting in 1994.

15 The RTA was established by the amalgamation of the Department of Motor Transport (DMT), the Department of Main Roads (DMR), and the Traffic Authority.

16 Prior to 1990, information on licence holders was held by the DMT and before that it was kept by the NSW Police, who were the original driver licensing authority in NSW.

17 The RTA began using DRIVES in the early 1990s. Prior to DRIVES, RTA customer service staff completed all forms in writing when instigating a transaction. Information from the forms was then entered into the RTA's computer system by the data entry section. These data were later transferred to DRIVES.

18 Over the years, the laws regulating licensing have changed. An amendment in 1997 changed the licence classes. This amendment did not affect data on total licence holders. From July 2000, licence types were broadened slightly to split Provisional licences into P1 and P2. The tenure of licences has also changed over time.


19 The RTA publishes licence statistics in its annual New South Wales Driver and Vehicle Statistics publication. There are also summary data presented in the RTA Annual Report.


20 Further information can be found at the Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW web site: www.rta.nsw.gov.au.