Barriers to obtaining a driving licence in regional and remote areas of Western NSW
This study examined factors impeding young people in Western NSW from entering the licensing system. The findings can be used to inform strategies to increase licensing rates for this population, to enable greater access to essential services and socio-cultural opportunities, while at the same time either maintaining or improving current levels of road safety for these young drivers. A mixed-method study was undertaken in 2014, involving interviews, focus groups and telephone surveys with 364 young people and 32 road safety stakeholders in Western NSW. Participants were asked for their views on the importance of young people having a driver licence and the effect of barriers to obtaining a driver licence identified in prior research. The qualitative data were thematically analysed and triangulated with descriptive statistics from the survey data to uncover key findings.
Participants reported that a driver licence provides young people with a sense of independence and facilitates access to employment, education, sport and social events. Commonly reported barriers to obtaining a licence included: the process of obtaining a learner licence; proof of identify requirements; literacy and numeracy skills; legal issues and supervised driving requirements. The study results show that barriers to licensing span structural, practical, financial, legal and attitudinal issues that need to be accounted for when designing policy initiatives to increase licensing rates, while maintaining or improving the current level of road safety.