When a Driver's Licence is Not Just About Driving...

Driver Licensing: Descriptive Epidemiology of a Social Determinant of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
When thinking about Australians getting their driver's licence, we can be quick to think about young people wanting to have independence from their parents, with freedom to be out on weekends socialising with their friends. But getting a driver's licence can mean much more than this.

The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health has released a study exploring driving licensing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, led by The George Institute for Global Health, with TARS researcher Associate Professor Teresa Senserrick as a co-author, together with colleagues from the University of Sydney, University of Western Australia, Flinders University and University of Wollongong.

The research applied representative sampling methods to interview 625 people over the age of 16 years at four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in urban and rural areas of New South Wales and South Australia. The study found remarkably high associations between having a driver's licence and significantly greater likelihood of full-time employment and educational attainment.

Community members with a driver's licence were four times more likely to be employed full-time, almost twice as likely to have a certificate or trade qualification, and four times more likely to have a degree. Driver licensing therefore has far-reaching implications for the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, reinforcing the need for appropriate and accessible pathways to achieving and maintaining driver licensure.

A copy of the article that has been published on-line ahead of the printed journal can be found here.