Objective: This study separately examined the impact of the outcomes of a practical on-road driving test and a hazard perception test on the likelihood of traffic crashes among a cohort of newly licensed young drivers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
Methods: The DRIVE study is a prospective cohort study of drivers aged 17 to 24 years holding their first-year provisional driver license in NSW. Information obtained from 20,822 participants in a detailed baseline questionnaire was linked to information on the number of attempts at a mandatory practical on-road driving test and hazard perception test as well as police-reported traffic crashes.
Results: After controlling for a number of sociodemographic and behavioral factors as well as factors related to driver learning experiences, multivariate analysis showed that those who failed the practical on-road test at least 4 times had an increased risk of involvement in a traffic crash compared to those who passed the test at first attempt (relative risk [RR]: 1.79, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.20-2.65). The crash risk among those who failed the practical on-road test at least 4 times was particularly high in females (RR: 2.10, 95% CI: 1.20-3.68). Similarly, those who failed the hazard perception test at least twice had an increased risk of involvement in a traffic crash (RR: 1.83, 95% CI: 1.27-2.63) compared to those who passed the test on the first attempt. The crash risk of those who failed the hazard perception test at least twice was particularly high in males (RR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.5-4.1) and among those from rural and remote areas (RR: 5.53, 95% CI: 1.63-18.71).
Conclusions: The findings have implications on licensing practices and suggest the need for adequate strategies to assist young drivers with multiple failures in the driving and hazard perception tests.