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539 Driver licensing in aboriginal and torres strait islander people
  1. Rebecca Q Ivers1,2,3,
  2. Kate Hunter1,2,4,
  3. Yvonne Helps3,
  4. Kathleen Clapham5,
  5. Teresa Senserrick6,
  6. Jake Byrne1,
  7. Alexandra Martiniuk2,
  8. John Daniels5,
  9. James E Harrison3
  1. 1The George Institute for Global Health, Australia
  2. 2The University of Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Flinders University,Australia
  4. 4The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Sydney, Australia
  5. 5University of Wollongong, Australia
  6. 6The University of NSW, Australia


Background Driver licensing is essential to effective road safety management systems however strengthened graduated driver licensing systems may make licensing less accessible. The impact of barriers to licensing can be far reaching, particularly for already marginalised groups. We aimed to describe licensing rates and factors associated with driver licensing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

Methods Interviewer administered surveys were conducted with 625 people 16 years or older in 4 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in New South Wales and South Australia over a 2 week period in 2012–2013.

Results Licensing rates varied from 51% to 77%. A high proportion of participants reported licensing was important for independence and to meet work needs and opportunities, especially those from regional or remote locations. Employment was strongly associated with holding a current driver licence, with 64% of employed people holding a licence compared to only 36% of those who were unemployed (p < 0.05). Compared to not having a licence, having a driver licence was significantly associated with higher odds of full-time employment (OR 3.2, 95% CI: 2.0–5.3) and educational attainment (OR 1.7, 95% CI: 1.0–2.6 for trade or certificate; OR 3.1, 95% CI: 1.2–8.1 for degree qualification).

Conclusions Substantial variation in driver licensing rates across settings suggests different barriers to access. There is a strong association between driver licensing, education and employment. Licensing inequality has far-reaching impacts on the broader health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. This study reinforces the need for appropriate and accessible pathways to achieving and maintaining driver licensing.

  • Indigenous
  • road safety
  • driver licensing

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