Vehicles driven by young drivers, and features important to parents: New Zealand Drivers Study.
Vehicles driven by young drivers, and features important to parents: New Zealand Drivers Study. Rebecca Brookland, Dorothy Begg Injury Prevention Research Unit, University of Otago, New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org Aim: To describe the vehicles driven by young learner drivers and identify features parents considered important. Methods: This study was part of the New Zealand Drivers Study (NZDS), an ongoing prospective cohort study of 3992 newly licensed car drivers. As part of this study, 1200 parents (of drivers aged 15-17 years when licensed) reported on the main vehicle driven by their adolescent during the learner licence stage, the adolescent's access to the vehicle, and factors that influenced their decisions regarding vehicle choice. Results: Half of young drivers drove light (e.g., Honda Jazz) or small (e.g., Honda Civic) model cars. The majority (64%) were at least 10 years old. In most cases (75%) the vehicles were already owned by the parents, with small vehicle size and small engine size the main reasons for selecting the vehicle. Vehicle safety features were considered important by 15% of parents. One quarter of parents considered their adolescent to be the vehicle 'owner'. These vehicles were more likely to be light or small (74%), older model cars (87% 10 years or older) with less insurance cover (49% full insurance), compared to vehicles which were not adolescent 'owned'. Conclusion: Most adolescents were driving vehicles which provide poor crash protection and adolescent owners were driving the least safe vehicles. Ensuring adolescents drive safer vehicles and limiting access are ways parents can reduce adolescent injury and crash risk. Parents would benefit from information about what factors are important to consider when choosing a vehicle for their adolescent to drive.