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J Safety Res. 2013 Sep;46:41-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Learner driver experiences and crash risk as an unsupervised driver.

Author information

  • 1Injury Prevention Research Unit, Dunedin School of Medicine, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand. p.gulliver@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to describe the driving experiences of learner licensed drivers and examine the association between these driving experiences, associated factors, and on-road car crash involvement during the unsupervised restricted license stage.

METHODS:

Data were drawn from a cohort investigation of newly licensed drivers. Information on demographic characteristics, personality, and risk behaviors was collected at the baseline interview. At the first follow-up interview (restricted license stage) study members were asked details about their experiences as a learner licensed driver: professional driving lessons, supervised driving, unsupervised driving, and driving courses in which they participated. During the second follow-up interview (full license stage), data were collected on crash involvement and driving exposure during the restricted license stage. Regression analysis was used to determine independent relationships between learner license driving experience variables and crash involvement.

RESULTS:

After adjusting for demographic, personality factors, and driving exposure at the restricted license stage, increased time spent on the learner license was associated with a reduced risk of crash involvement during the unsupervised restricted license stage.

CONCLUSION:

Results presented in this paper suggest that learner drivers in New Zealand should be encouraged to spend more time on their learner license to enable them to gain skills and experience to help reduce their crash risk when they are allowed to drive unsupervised.

IMPACT ON INDUSTRY:

Compared with novice drivers who are on their learner license for the least amount of time, those who spend the most amount of time on their learner license have reduced risk of on-road crash involvement as an unsupervised driver. Learner drivers and their supervisors need to be aware of the length of time required for practice in order to reduce the risks of crash involvement when they are able to drive unsupervised (O'Brien et al., 2012). The recently introduced increase in the minimum driver licensing age in NZ, tougher restricted license stage driving test (aimed at encouraging 120 hours of supervised driving), and the Safe Teen driver campaign (NZ Transport Agency, 2012) are all strategies targeted at improving the safety of learner drivers. These strategies need to be evaluated to ensure they are achieving their goals.

Copyright © 2013 National Safety Council and Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Novice drivers; crash involvement; unsupervised driving

PMID:
23932684
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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