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Road user behaviour, attitudes and crashes: a survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia
  1. Patricia Cullen1,2,
  2. Kate Hunter2,
  3. Kathleen Clapham3,
  4. Teresa Senserrick4,5,
  5. Kris Rogers2,6,
  6. James E Harrison7,
  7. Rebecca Q Ivers1,2,8
  1. 1 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI), University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety–Queensland (CARRS-Q), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5 Transport and Road Safety Research, UNSW, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  6. 6 Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, New South Wales, Australia
  7. 7 College of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  8. 8 Southgate Institute, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Rebecca Q Ivers, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; rebecca.ivers{at}


Objective This study aimed to describe road user behaviour, attitudes and crashes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in four urban, regional and remote communities located in New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA).

Methods Face-to-face surveys were administered to clients (n=625) in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS). All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients attending the ACCHS for any reason were approached to participate over a 2-week period. Surveys included questions on sociodemographic factors, crash involvement, road behaviours and road safety attitudes drawn from tools used in national surveys.

Results The participation rate was high (69%–75%). Seat belt wearing rates were very high, particularly in the front of a car, although rear seat belt wearing rates in SA (77%) were substantially lower than in NSW (93%). Among drivers, 11% reported always or mostly driving 10 km/hour over the speed limit, and this was higher among drivers in SA (13.4%). Drivers aged 55 years and over and/or women were more likely to report that they do not drink at any time or restricted what they drank when driving. These results enable comparison with the Community Attitude to Road Safety survey conducted Australia-wide in 2013.

Conclusions This study confirms that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are inclined to report attitudes or road safety behaviours similar to the rest of the population; however, rear restraint use was lower and self-reported speeding was higher. These issues are likely attributable to transport options and geography in remote communities, which can contribute to overcrowding and unsafe driving practices.

  • indigenous
  • surveys
  • community
  • public health
  • attitudes
  • driver

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  • Funding The study was funded by the Discovery Project funding from the Australian Research Council. PC is funded by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship, RQI by an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship and KH by a NSW Health Early-Mid Career Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval for the study was granted by the Ethics Committee of the AH&MRC of NSW and the Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee of the AHCSA and Flinders University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.