Objective: To describe the driver and behavioural factors that predispose young drivers to crash in the first 12 months of driving and to compare whether these factors differ between young urban and rural drivers.
Methods: A cohort comprising 1,796 newly licensed urban and rural drivers from Western Australia was recruited and followed over the first 12 months of driving. Using Cox proportional hazard analysis, driver and behavioural factors were assessed to determine whether they predicted the likelihood of a crash.
Results: The incidence rate for a motor vehicle crash was marginally higher for urban drivers compared with rural drivers (Urban: IR=4.2/10,000 driving days; Rural: IR=3.7/10,000 driving days). There was no significant difference in the time to crash between urban and rural drivers. Two factors, namely the frequency of driving before obtaining a learner-driver permit and the driver's level of risk taking, were significantly associated with a motor vehicle crash in the first year of driving.
Conclusion: Irrespective of whether the driver is licensed in a rural or urban area, high risk-taking drivers are at an elevated risk of a motor vehicle crash in the first 12 months of driving.
Implications: Aspects of Graduated Driver Training and Licensing Programs (GDTLP) could be effective in targeting this at-risk group.