Young Drivers: Key Players and Their Interactions

Key Players and Their Interactions within the Young Driver Road Safety System in Queensland
With the complexity of driving, and the fact that most of us start to drive at a young age, it should not be surprising that the youngest newest drivers are most at risk of a crash. But the over-representation of young drivers in fatal and serious injury crash statistics is extreme – within Australia and globally. Much effort in road safety seeks to address this. And considerable gains have been achieved; however, this extreme over-representation persists. This identifies the need to look at the issue differently.

TARS researcher Associate Professor Teresa Senserrick worked together with the University of the Sunshine Coast to apply systems thinking to identify where young driver issues were situated within the larger road safety system. System thinking recognises that there are a multitude of influential actors within the broader road safety system that influence young driver safety. These span all levels of government and community groups to individual young drivers and their parents, with physical road systems and vehicles also key.

This paper reports on our efforts to identify all such actors (organisations) and key players in the young driver road safety system in Australia with a focus on Queensland. Interviews were held with 82 participants representing 26 identified actors seeking their input into their own perceived system roles and their relationships with other actors. Applying Rasmussen’s risk management framework, key actors were identified and organised into sociotechnical strata.

A key tenet of Rasmussen's framework is that, to control safety, not only should there be interaction within the strata but also across strata. We found that, while key players report interacting to some extent within their stratum, less interaction occurred across different strata. This demonstrates that the young driver road safety system was less than optimal and revealed potential new pathways for intervention.

A free copy of the article published in Safety Science can be downloaded from the following link until June 30, 2016.