Driving licences, categories

Driver's licences issued in 2019 increase significantly for the first time since 2015, decline in moped driving licences

In 2019, 123 039 driver's licences were issued for the first time or additional driving authorizations were granted. According to Statistics Austria, this corresponds to an increase of 4% or 4 989 driver's licences compared to 2018 (118 050). With these driver's licences, 142 238 (+4.5% or 6 088) authorizations to drive different vehicles were acquired. The number of steering authorizations declined in 2016 and 2017 (-1% each year) or remained rather stable at the level of the previous year in 2018.

13% more steering authorization for tractors than last year

The highest increase (+13% or 1 629) was observed for the steering authorization class for tractors and motor carts (F-class); these steering authorizations rose above-average in the months from January to July 2019 (April 2019: +48%). In contrast, the months from August to December show year-on-year declines of up to 15%.

The federal states of Upper Austria and Lower Austria accounted for over 82% of the growth in F-class driving authorizations (+1 343). The remaining F-class grants are distributed among the other federal states; Carinthia being the only federal state which shows a decline of 23 licences.

Increases in driving authorizations for trucks (+11%) and buses (+8%)

C-class driving licences (2019: 10 525) rose up to 32% compared to the previous year, especially in the months from January to July, while they mostly declined in the months from August to December. In 2019, the increase of 1 003 C-class grants is regionally concentrated to 83% (833 grants) in the federal states of Upper Austria (40%), Lower Austria (24%) and Tyrol (19%).

In 2019, the number of D-class driving authorizations increased by 8% up to 1 532; this stopped the declines in 2017 (-5%) and 2018 (-1%).

Rather a third of the car driving licences are acquired as a L17 driving licence

Since 2006 (20%) the share of driving licences acquired in the form of the L17 driver's licence to the total number of acquired car driving licences (B-class) has been rising steadily to 32% in 2019. The number of L17 driving authorizations (2019: 26 451) increased by 6% compared to 2018 (2018: +1%).

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

While on the one hand the results of the driving licence statistics indicate a long-term trend towards the increasingly preferred choice of the L17 car driving licence, on the other hand there is a change in the age structure in the group of driving licence owners of the regular B-class (from 18 years). While the average age of persons was still 19.9 years in 2006, the regular B-class was granted at an average age of 21.6 years in 2019. Age differences are also evident in the federal states, ranging from an average of 20.4 years in Burgenland to 21.1 years in Styria and 24.0 years in Vienna.

Sharp decrease in moped driving licences in 2019

The AM-class for mopeds was introduced as part of the 14 amendment of the Driving Licence Law in 2013 and replaced the moped identification card. Since then, the number of annual grants (2019: 28 438) of the AM-class has fallen continuously – with the exception of 2014 (+3% compared to the previous year) – and in 2019 showed the largest decrease (-8%) since its introduction.

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

Notice:

Reform of the theoretical driver's licence test: Since 1 June 2019, a comprehensive reformed catalogue of questions for the theoretical driver's licence test for the F-class has been in use. To a lesser extent, this reform also affects the theoretical driver's licence exams of driving authorization classes C and D.

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.