Views, compliance and enforcement of graduated driver licence conditions: findings from the New Zealand drivers study
AIM: This paper describes young drivers’ views of, and compliance with, the Graduated Driver Licence System (GDLS) conditions, and their GDLS traffic offences.
METHOD: The New Zealand Drivers Study (NZDS) is a prospective cohort study of newly licensed car drivers. 1599 young drivers (<25 years) progressed to full licensure and completed the NZDS baseline, restricted, and full licence interviews. Their views and experiences regarding GDLS conditions were obtained from these interviews. GDLS offences were sourced from official traffic records.
RESULTS: Young drivers thought the conditions were important for safety reasons, and agreement with conditions was generally high but, compliance with conditions was low: 24% breached the learner licence supervisor condition, 66% the restricted licence night-time condition, and 79% the restricted licence passenger condition. One in five young drivers breached all three conditions. Less than half thought it was likely they would be stopped by the police for not complying with licence conditions. Percentage of young drivers who received an offence notice for breaching conditions: supervisor condition (4%), night-time condition (4%), and passenger condition (12%).
DISCUSSION: Despite approving of the GDLS conditions, non-compliance was high, especially for restricted licence conditions. However, few young drivers received a police offence notice for these breaches of the law. Increasing compliance with conditions has been identified as a mechanism to reduce crash risk. Stricter enforcement by the police is required to help improve compliance; this would also assist parents to enforce the conditions. This combined effort should result in safety gains for young drivers.