Mothers vs. fathers as learner driver supervisors: Time commitment, driving activities and perceptions of risk
The learner licence, within a graduated driver licensing system, provides new drivers with the opportunity to learn to drive under the supervision of a more experienced driver. The Queensland graduated driver licensing system requires learner drivers to record a minimum of 100 logbook hours of supervised practice with the support of parents appearing critical to ensure that this is achieved. This paper examines differences between mothers and fathers who supervise learner drivers. Mothers and fathers from Queensland who had recently supervised their child while they learnt to drive completed an internet survey about their experiences. It appears that one strategy that parents use to provide practice hours is for the child to drive themselves or their parents to or from activities that they would have attended anyway in addition to undertaking special trips in the car for the purposes of practising. The results suggest that mothers, when compared with fathers, consider driving at all stages of licensure riskier and that mothers provided more hours of supervision than fathers. However, despite this, there are limited differences between how frequently mothers and fathers provide different driving experiences such as deliberately practising in suburban areas or with passengers in the car. This research fills a gap in the literature by providing important information about the way in which parents supervise their children while they are driving on a learner licence as well as identifying some of the differences and similarities between mothers and fathers.