Despite the fact that a minimum number of practice hours for novice drivers has been widely adopted in the U.S., Australia, NZ and in some European countries, surprisingly little is known about the amount or variety of driving during the learner stage. One factor may be due to the difficulty in obtaining objective measures of the amount and conditions during which practice driving takes place. The purpose of this study was to use objective measures of the amount and variety of practice driving occurring during the learner permit stage, and examine how these differ according to individual and household level characteristics, which were measured at baseline using parent and teen surveys. We found that increased practice was associated with parenting practices, such as parent trust, as well as household income and pre-permit driving experience. Taken collectively, the findings suggest the amount of practice driving may be a function of the motivation or interest of the teen to drive, combined with the quality of the relationship between parents and teens and the household environment within which these characteristics are occurring. Surprisingly, in this study, teens from households with lower incomes gained more practice hours and days. Population level studies examining the association between the family context and how teenagers learn to drive are needed to confirm the findings from this study in a representative sample. The use of both naturalistic and survey methods used in this study demonstrates how they can build on one another.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Safety Research
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health