The driver, the road, the rules … and the rest? A systems-based approach to young driver road safety

  • B. Scott-Parker, N. Goode, P. Salmon
  • Accident Analysis & Prevention, January 2015, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.01.027

A systems-based approach to young driver road safety

What is it about?

Despite trying to intervene to improve young driver road safety for more than half a century, young novice drivers continue to be overrepresented in car crashes, fatalities and injuries arising from those car crashes. The definition of insanity often attributed to Albert Einstein is ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.’ Interventions typically seek to address the three E’s of Education, Enforcement and Engineering. However, research suggests that young driver road safety is about so much more than the young driver themselves, despite the fact they frequently are the target of the education, engineering and the enforcement activities. Consistent with a fresh way of thinking about young driver road safety, we applied systems thinking to this important road safety realm to reveal new insight for effective intervention in young driver road safety.

Why is it important?

While we mapped the factors and stakeholders contributing to young driver road safety in Queensland, we also mapped factors contributing to young driver crashes in the global context based upon the literature regarding factors contributing to young driver crashes. By far the majority of the literature relates to factors immediately relevant or pertaining to the young driver themselves, such as personality factors and their risky driving behaviour. Some research has identified the roles that parents and their friends play, while other research has also considered vehicle-related factors, including ownership and the age and size of the vehicle. However, by far, the majority of research focuses on the young driver themselves, despite our systems thinking revealing that young driver road safety is about so much more than the young driver themselves.

Perspectives

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker
University of the Sunshine Coast

For effective intervention in young driver road safety, we need to move beyond thinking the young driver road safety system is overwhelmingly centred on the young driver, and that intervention should target the young driver – and only the young driver – which is the current predominant approach. We need to move beyond this approach and engage stakeholders who play differing roles at multiple levels. We also need the capacity for young drivers to actually be involved in their own road safety through a fourth ‘E’ – ‘E’ for Engagement. Without actually engaging young drivers in their road safety, we are unlikely to make considerable headway in improving young driver road safety around the world.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2014.01.027

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Bridie Scott-Parker