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New Zealand Drivers Study: a follow-up study of newly licensed drivers


Background: Despite significant improvement since graduated licensing was introduced, traffic-related injury remains the leading cause of death and hospitalisation among young New Zealanders. Most research to date has used routinely collected crash data but has been limited in that these databases do not, and realistically cannot, include the level of detail required to ensure that learner driver policy and programmes are based on sound scientific evidence applicable to young drivers in the current New Zealand context.

Objectives: To examine the driving-related experiences of newly licensed drivers to identify factors associated with increased or decreased risk of negative traffic outcomes.

Design: Multistage prospective cohort study.

Setting: New Zealand.

Participants: Newly licensed drivers.

Variables: Exposures: background demographic details, pre-licence driving, previous crashes, driving intentions, motivations for driving and licensing, sensation seeking, aggression, impulsivity, quality and quantity of driving experience, driving supervision, driving behaviour, alcohol and other drug use, compliance with New Zealand’s graduated driver licensing scheme, driver training/education, cell phone use, and sleep. Outcomes: crash, conviction, infringements, risky driving.

Data sources: Exposures: participants and their parents. Outcomes: participants and official records.

Bias: On the basis of a pilot study, participation and attrition bias are likely to be minimal. A comparison of baseline data for those followed and those not followed will be undertaken. Information bias will be minimised by standardised questionnaires. Information on potential confounders is to be collected and controlled for in analyses.

Study size: 5000 (including 1500 Māori).

Statistical Methods: Survival analysis, logistic or Poisson regression, generalised estimating equations.

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