Learning to drive in rural areas: parents? perspectives on issues and solutions
The problems confronting the parents of learner drivers in regional centres and rural areas differ substantially from those confronting urban parents. Distances are greater, access to varying driving conditions is often more restricted, and access to professional assistance or broader government services is limited. The reliance on motor vehicles to meet mobility needs is greater, and young people have often developed basic vehicle handling skills before they commence their official learner period. This paper presents the results of a small series of discussion groups undertaken with parents in regional centres in Victoria. The discussion groups were conducted as part of an evaluation of materials developed for parents by RACV, but were broad enough to allow parents to discuss their concerns about their involvement in their learners? driving and to share solutions to some common problems. The paper will address some of the experiences of rural parents as supervising drivers, the blockages to providing experience for learner drivers, responses to the potential introduction of exposure-reduction measures, and the needs of parents undertaking this role.