Background and objective: Research on young drivers directly linking risk factors to serious injury and death outcomes is required. The DRIVE Study was established to facilitate this aim. This paper outlines the study methods and describes the population that has been recruited, in order to demonstrate that the necessary heterogeneity in risk factors has been attained.
Design, setting and participants: Drivers aged 17–24 years holding their first-stage provisional driver’s licence from New South Wales, Australia, were recruited into a prospective cohort study. The participants were contacted by mail and asked to complete the study questionnaire at an online site or via a mailed questionnaire. Baseline data collection involved a questionnaire with questions to drivers about their training, risk perception, driver behavior, sensation-seeking behavior and mental health. Participants gave consent for prospective data linkage to their data on licensing, crashes and injuries, held in routinely collected databases.
Results: 20 822 drivers completed the baseline questionnaire, of whom 45.4% were men, 74.3% resided in capital cities and 25.7% in regional or remote areas. The recruited study population showed a wide variation in the risk factors under examination. For example, almost 40% of drivers reported drinking alcohol at hazardous levels and about 32% of participants seemed to be at a high or very high risk of psychological distress. Participants reported a mean of 67.3 h (median 60 h) of supervised driver training while holding their learner’s permit.
Conclusions: The DRIVE Study has a robust study design aimed at minimizing bias in the collection of outcome data. Analyses of baseline data showed substantial heterogeneity of risk factors in the study population. Subsequent prospective linkages comparing relative differences in exposures at baseline with the outcomes of interest have the potential to provide important new information needed to develop targeted interventions aimed at young drivers.
- NSW, New South Wales
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