Demographic factors associated with pre-licensed driving in a NSW young driver cohort: the DRIVE
Research on pre-licensed driving (driving before gaining a learner licence) by Australian youth is scarce but suggests it is a high risk activity. This study aimed to explore demographic and behavioural factors associated with self-reported pre-licensed driving among a large sample of NSW newly-licensed young drivers. All drivers resident in NSW aged 17-24 years holding a provisional (P1) licence between June 2003 and December 2004 were invited to complete a detailed on-line questionnaire, including items on demographics and driving before gaining a learner licence; therefore a mix of current and retrospective self-reports. Binomial models were developed to calculate relative risk and 95% confidence intervals of pre-licensed driving. 20,822 young drivers completed the questionnaire. Pre-licensed driving was higher among males and rural and regional residents and lower among respondents from moderate socioeconomic status areas, those never married and those born in Asian countries. Other risk behaviours were strongly associated with pre-licensed driving, including drink driving, drug driving and a high engagement in risky driving behaviours, high alcohol use, marijuana and other drug use, as well as high sensation seeking. These factors identify important targets for interventions to reduce pre-licensed driving.