Objective: To examine differences in risky driving behavior and likelihood of traffic crash according to the country of birth of recently licensed young drivers. The groups examined include those born in Australia, those born in Asia, and those born in other countries.
Design and setting: The DRIVE study is a prospective cohort study of drivers aged 17-24 years holding their first-year provisional driver license in New South Wales, Australia. Information obtained from 20,822 participants who completed a baseline questionnaire was linked to police-reported traffic crashes.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported risky driving behaviors and police-reported traffic crashes in young drivers.
Results: Young drivers who were born in Asian countries were less likely to report engaging in risky driving behaviors than their Australian-born counterparts. The proportion of participants reporting a high level of risky driving was 31.5 percent (95% confidence intervale [CI], 30.8-32.1) among Australian-born drivers compared to 25.6 percent (95% CI, 23.1-28.2) among Asian-born drivers and 30.4 percent (95% CI, 28.4-32.5) among those born in other regions. Asian-born participants had half the risk of a crash as a driver than their Australian-born counterparts (relative risk [RR] 0.55; 95% CI, 0.41-0.75) after adjusting for a number of demographic factors and driving and risk-taking behaviors. The comparative risk was even lower among those aged 17 years (RR 0.29; 95% CI, 0.29-0.75). Risk estimates for people born in other regions did not differ to those for Australian-born respondents.
Conclusions: The study highlights the lower level of risky driving and significantly reduced crash risk for Australian drivers born in Asian countries relative to those born locally. Further research is needed to examine factors underlying this reduced risk and the impact of the length of residence in the host country.