Parents vital to policing young drivers: Have your say

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A new QUT study will look at what parents in the ACT are doing to keep their kids safe when they first get their licence, with research showing parents play a vital role in encouraging young drivers to obey the road rules.

Chief investigator David Belsham, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), said young drivers admit to taking notice of their parents when complying with the law.

“This means understanding how parents support young P-plate drivers and encourage them to obey the road rules and comply with provisional licence restrictions is essential to improving the graduated driver licensing (GDL) system in the ACT,” he said.

Mr Belsham said young novice drivers were at a higher risk of being involved in a crash than any other age group and two-and-a-half times more likely to be killed in a crash.

“The GDL system is designed to address this by limiting novice drivers’ exposure to high-risk situations, while allowing them to gain on-road experience,” he said.

“In the ACT the GDL system, which includes P-plates, is less restrictive than other states but it does provide education programs to encourage awareness of behaviours that increase crash risk and the need for compliance with the restrictions imposed.”

Mr Belsham said the CARRS-Q study aimed to identify and assess the effectiveness of what parents were doing to encourage their P-platers to comply with provisional licensing conditions, such as zero blood alcohol and displaying P plates.

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“Parents are key to keeping young, novice drivers safe,” he said.

“Parents are at the coal face of implementing and encouraging compliance with road rules, but we know very little about their knowledge of licensing conditions or the safety benefits that underpin them.

“Understanding what parents experience as easy or difficult to enforce and the success they achieve with their approach to encourage safe, lawful driving is necessary to help them better protect their teenage drivers.”

QUT researchers are looking for ACT parents of P-place drivers and P-plate drivers themselves to take part in the study which will involve a short 20-30 minute telephone interview. Participants will be reimbursed for their time with a $30 gift voucher.

“There are no right or wrong answers, just questions about individual experience that will help guide improvements to the GDL system and in turn may save lives of young drivers in the future.”

To take part in the study or for more information, visit

This study is funded by an NRMA – ACT Road Safety Trust grant.

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(Source: Queensland University of Technology)

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Date Created: April 5, 2016