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Development of ‘Going Solo: A resource for parents of P-Plate drivers’.
Despite major gains in road safety over the last decade in Australia, young novice drivers remain a great safety concern, as they constitute a large part of road trauma. Drivers in their first year of driving on their probationary licence are particularly vulnerable to crash involvement. While many parents take on a major role in teaching driving skills during the L-plate phase, this role is greatly reduced during the P-plate phase. However, there is growing research suggesting that parents can exert a major influence on their child’s early independent driving and that interventions to increase parental management of newly licensed teens during the initial independent driving period are effective in improving driving behaviour and reducing crash involvement. An Australian-first booklet, ‘Going Solo: A resource for parents of P-plate drivers’, has recently been developed that aims to help parents minimise their son/daughter’s risk of crash involvement in the first months of driving. The booklet outlines the most up-to-date scientific research in the area of young drivers, and offers practical strategies to reduce risk. This paper describes the development of the booklet, including background literature searches, feedback from an expert panel and a survey of P-plate drivers and their parents on the useability and acceptability of the resource. The findings suggest that the resource is considered a useful tool by experts and community users and, for parents, instrumental in discussing and managing specific driving risks with their P-plate drivers, particularly driving with peer passengers and driving at night.