Private supervisors of learner drivers and Queensland's graduated driver licensing system : how important are they?
Bates, Lyndel J., Watson, Barry C., & King, Mark J. (2011) Private supervisors of learner drivers and Queensland's graduated driver licensing system : how important are they? In 10th National Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, 2 November - 4 November 2011, Brisbane, QLD.
Background: A key element of graduated driver licensing systems is the level of support provided by parents. In mid-2007 changes were made to Queensland’s graduated driver licensing system, including amendments to the learner licence with one of the more significant changes requiring learners to record 100 hours of supervised driving practice in a logbook. Prior to mid-2007, there was no minimum supervision requirement.
Aims: The aim of this study was to document the experiences of the supervisors of Queensland learner drivers after the changes made to the graduated driver licensing system in mid-2007.
Methods: The sample of 552 supervisors of learner drivers was recruited using a combination of convenience and snowball sampling techniques. The internet survey was open for completion between July 2009 and May 2010 and took approximately 15 to 20 minutes for participants to complete.
Results: For 59.7 per cent of the participants, this was the first time that they had supervised a learner driver. For 63.2 per cent, they classified themselves as the main supervisor for the learner driver. Participants provided an average of 79.62 hours of supervision (sd = 92.38), while other private supervisors provided 34.89 hours of supervision (sd = 41.74) to the same learner and professional driving instructors 18.55 hours of supervision (sd = 27.54). The vast majority of supervisors recorded all or most of the practice that they provided their learner driver in their log book with most supervisors indicating that they believed that the hours recorded in the learner’s logbook were either accurate or very accurate. While many supervisors stated that they did not receive any advice regarding the supervision of learner drivers, some had received advice from others such as friends or through discussions with a professional driving instructor.
Discussion and conclusions: While graduated driver licensing systems implicitly encourage the involvement of parents and other private supervisors, these people tend not to be systematically involved. As demonstrated in this study, private supervisors provide a significant amount of supervised practice and seek to record this practice accurately and honestly in the learner’s logbook. However, even though a significant number of participants reported that this was the first time that they had supervised a learner driver, they accessed little support or guidance for their role. This suggests a need to more overtly encourage and support the role of private supervisors for learner drivers.
Impact and interest:
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