OBJECTIVES: This study examined the attitudes of teenagers towards the New Zealand graduated driver licensing system (GDLS), and the extent to which it affected them. METHOD: Teenagers, who are members of a longitudinal study of a birth cohort, were interviewed at 15 years of age when the GDLS was first introduced and before they had begun licensure, and again at 18 years of age after they had experience with this licensing system. RESULTS: At both ages the majority (over 70%) agreed with the driving restrictions imposed by this system. After experience with the restrictions, however, significantly more reported being affected a lot by them, than had expected to be at age 15. This was especially true of the restrictions on the carrying of passengers and the night time curfew (10 pm - 5 am). However, few reported that they were affected by the alcohol restriction. Sixty eight per cent of those with a graduated licence reported breaking at least one of the conditions, most frequently carrying passengers. Very few were penalised by the police for this. CONCLUSIONS: Generally these young drivers were positively disposed towards the driving restrictions, but noncompliance was common. A full evaluation of all aspects of this licensing system is recommended.
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