Understanding Subgroups of Novice Drivers : A Basis for Increased Safety and Health

Sammanfattning: Every year, drivers throughout the world are killed or injured in road traffic, particularly in developing countries. Young drivers run a greater risk everywhere, and this problem is still largely unsolved. Better understanding of the underlying processes could, however, be a useful tool in preventive endeavours. The aim of this thesis is to elucidate some of the accident problem among young car drivers. The focus is on understanding how lifestyle and other social and demographical factors influence the health of young people in terms of mobility and safety. Better knowledge of these factors makes it possible to design safety measures specially tailored for different subgroups. This is expected to help make the measures more effective and reduce the conflict between mobility and safety.The thesis is based on five studies, the first of which focuses on the factors that influence young people in their decision concerning whether or not to obtain a driving licence (Paper I). In the second study, focus lies on how groups with different lifestyles and socio-economic background start practice driving and the benefit derived from the opportunity to practise from the age of 16 (Paper II). The third study aims at visualising accident patterns during driving practice (Paper III) while the fourth evaluates the effects of a reform that lowered the age limit for practice driving to 16 (Paper IV). The last study aims at analysing the relation between the lifestyles of young drivers and accidents (Paper V).The results of the five studies underlines the complexity of the young driver problem. Many factors such as financial means, time and norms influence how many people take their licence and consequentially, safety and health (I). Socio-economic background together with lifestyle influences the possibility of obtaining a driving licence and of accumulating extensive driving practice (II), which is relevant as regards safety on the road for newly qualified drivers (IV). Paper III shows the prevalent accident pattern during driver training and Paper V shows that the accident risk is different in different lifestyle groups.The combined results presented in the five papers offers the possibility of developing different countermeasures for the selective influencing of different groups under different conditions. If this is adapted as closely as possible to target groups and situations, it should be possible to significantly enhance safety without losing much of young drivers’ mobility, both during driving practice and afterwards.