Driving licences, categories

Fewer driving licenses, but more A-class authorizations in the Corona year 2020

142 103 driver's licenses were issued in 2020 according to Statistics Austria. This corresponds to a decrease of 6% compared to 2019 (151 477) and is the lowest value for the past 8 years. With these driver's licences, 157 246 authorizations to drive different vehicles were acquired, 13 430 (-8%) less compared to 2019 (170 676). More driving authorizations were issued for motorcycles (+9%) and there was also an increase of L17 driving licenses (+2%).

Fewer driving authorizations during corona-related lockdowns

From March to May and in December 2020 large declines were recorded. An all-time low was reached in April with a minus of 95% and only 888 driving authorizations issued (April 2019: 16 808). There were also large declines in March (-35%), May (-48%) and December (-31%). In contrast, in the period from June to October 2020, the number of driving authorizations issued increased by an average of 23% compared to 2019.

Increase of 9% in motorcycle driving authorizations

The number of A-class authorizations (motorcycle: A, A1, A2) increased significantly with a plus of 9% compared to the previous year: with 19 392 driving authorizations the highest value for the A-classes was achieved for the past eight years (2019: 17 844). An increase was observed in almost all months except during the first corona-related lockdown from March to May and in December. During the second lockdown in November, the number even increased by 47% compared to the previous year. In contrast, a decline was recorded in almost all driving authorization classes in 2020. Particularly affected were the F-class (tractor; -27%), C-class (truck incl. trailer; -23%), BE-class (car trailer; -20%) and the D-class (bus incl. trailer; -15%).

Decrease in car driving authorizations, increase in class L17

Car driving authorizations (B-class) also decreased significantly in 2020. 76 800 people obtained the B-class, which is 5 143 fewer authorizations or minus 6% compared to 2019 (81 943). While the decline in the regular B-class (18 years and older) was even higher at minus 10%, the number of L17 driving licences actually increased by 2%. In general, the trend towards the increasing choice of the L17 driving licence thus continued. In 2020, 35% already acquired the B-class in the form of an L17 driving licence, compared to 32% in 2019 and only 25% 10 years ago.

The share of the L17 licence within the B-class varied between the federal states. In Burgenland, already more than half of the B-class licenses (54%) were acquired in the form of an L17, followed by Lower Austria (48%) and Carinthia (44%). In Vienna, on the other hand, the share was only 12% and in Vorarlberg 16%.

Average age of driver's licence applicants in the regular B-class is rising

In general, persons who regularly acquire the B-class are becoming older. The average age was 21.5 years in 2020, while it was 20.2 years 10 years ago. The federal states recorded great differences here as well. The average age was the lowest in Vorarlberg with 20.3 years, in Burgenland and Tyrol it was at 20.5 years, and in Vienna it was by far the highest at 24.1 years.

For more detailed results and further information please refer to the German version.

Definitions:

  • Driving licence register: Central IT application and database for the registration and administration of all information relevant to driving licences.
  • Driving licence: document on the issue of one or more driving authorizations.
  • Driving authorization: Official licence to drive vehicles on public roads. It is tied to a certain motor vehicle class.
  • Granting a driving licence: The prerequisite for granting a driving licence is a successfully passed theoretical and practical driver's licence test and reaching the minimum age for the respective motor vehicle class.
  • First Application: First granting of a driving licence, whereby prior to that a driving licence was not granted either national nor abroad.
  • Expansion of a driving licence: Driving authorizations previously granted are extended by one or more classes.
  • AM-class: Moped; two-wheel vehicles or three/four-wheel vehicles with a maximum design speed of not more than 45 kilometres per hour. The AM class is only shown if it was issued alone, not in the course of grantings of other classes.
  • L17 (driving licence for cars granted at the age of 17): Since March 1999, driving licence for class B (car) can – under special circumstances – be granted at the age of 17: After verifiably 3 000 kilometres driven with an accompanying person and a perfection drive in the driving school. The regular age for driving licences for cars is at the age of 18.
  • C-classes: include the authorizations to drive motor vehicles (large goods vehicles) with a total mass over 3.5t (C1: up to 7.5t; C: over 7.5t); with trailer (C1E, CE).
  • D-classes: include the right to drive buses for the transport of more than 8 people (D1: up to 16 people; D: more than 16 people); with trailer (D1E, DE).
  • F-class: Includes authorization to steer tractors, motor carts, self-propelled work machines, etc.