L-platers needed for driving behaviour research

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A USC academic is conducting research to better understand how driving behaviours change when young motorists progress from having L-plates to P-plates.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Bridie Scott-Parker said while learner drivers were involved in relatively few incidents on the road, young people on provisional licences faced a much higher risk of crashing.

“We know that young drivers change their driving behaviour when they pass their driving tests and gain red Provisional 1 driver licences,” she said. “What we don’t know is in what ways they change their behaviour.”

Dr Scott-Parker, who is the Leader of the Adolescent Risk Research Unit at the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute, is seeking learner drivers aged 16-20 who have recorded about 80 hours of driving in their logbooks.

The project will run for at least seven months, with smartphones placed in the cars of learner drivers so that trip characteristics, such as where they have driven and when, can be recorded for at least one month. The same information will then be recorded for the first six months of driving as P-platers.

Dr Scott-Parker said young drivers and their parents also would be asked to complete some online surveys and app-based surveys throughout the study.

“We know that when young drivers first start driving by themselves – as P-platers – they are at increased risk of being involved in a car crash,” she said.

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“This study will give us essential information that can help improve the safety of all young drivers in Queensland and beyond.”

To participate in the study, contact Dr Scott-Parker at bscottpa@usc.edu.au.

(Source: University of the Sunshine Coast)

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Date Created: February 15, 2017 Date Modified: March 10, 2017