Most young Aussies ditching manual cars for ‘easier to drive’ automatics

Manual driving is slowly becoming less popular. Source: Getty

Back in the day learning to drive in a manual car was pretty standard, but now, more and more young drivers are opting for an auto licence.

In fact, manual cars are no longer the number one vehicle for young motorists, as many new drivers are choosing to take their driving test in an automatic car.

Figures from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, found that around 77 per cent of P1 licences (red P plates) issued by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services in the last six months were for “auto only”. The figures were reportedly up 13 points since 2009.

Meanwhile, NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury told the publication he was shocked even 23 per cent of young drivers were opting for manual licences.

“Increasingly what we are seeing most of the popular cars on the road come in auto,” he said.

“Where you tend to now see manual is either in work vehicles like utes … or in those really high end, expensive luxury cars which are out of the price range of most young drivers.”

Khoury said young drivers are opting for an auto licence because it’s generally easier to drive, it gives you more choice when it comes to buying vehicles, and most family cars are also automatic, so it’s a lot easier to learn in one.

In most states, new drivers who choose to take their drivers licence test in an automatic car will be restricted to driving automatics. In fact, South Australia is the only state in the country that allows drivers who past their test in an automatic vehicle to be able to legally drive both.

For example, in NSW a new driver who was tested in an automatic vehicle is only allowed to drive a manual once they’re issued with a provisional P2 (green P plates) or unrestricted licence. To remove the condition earlier, they must pass a driving test in a manual vehicle.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, motorists wanting to drive a manual car without a retest need to attain their full licence first. However, in Queensland and Western Australia, drivers must pass a practical driving test in a manual vehicle to be eligible to drive a manual.

Meanwhile, it comes after a 2016 survey by research company Roy Morgan, obtained by, revealed young people are less likely to drive nowadays. The survey found only 67 per cent of Millennials — people aged between 22 and 37 — are driving, down from 72.5 per cent of the same age group in 2006. 

What are your thoughts on this? Do you remember learning in a manual car? Do you think more young drivers need to learn manual?

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