What is Going Solo?

Going Solo is a 16-page booklet designed to inform parents of the risks that newly licensed son/daughter will face, particularly in their first year on their P-plate licence. The overall aim is to raise awareness of young driver risks to parents in order for them to discuss these risks with their son/daughter. At the back of the booklet there is an agreement for parents and P-plate drivers to sign regarding the expectations as to their son/daughter's driving, and also the parents role in promoting the safety of their newly licensed son/daughter.

Why have a resource like Going Solo?

There are three major reasons. Firstly, crashes involving P-platers are still a major road safety issue. In fact, it has been estimated that P-plate drivers are 33 times more likely to have a crash than learner drivers. The risk of P-plate drivers having a crash decreases dramatically over the first 6-12 months.

Secondly, the over proportion of crashes in newly licensed drivers is evident world wide, which has led to a lot of interest in how to teach safe driving. This has included what is the best way to train and educate young drivers, and also how to set up a licensing system that allows the young driver to acquire driving experience under low risk situations. Research has shown that graduated driver licensing systems are very effective in reducing young driver crashes. Such licensing systems exist throughout Australia. Graduated driver licensing systems phase in on-road driving, so that beginners can acquire initial experience under low risk conditions, and gradually introduce the beginner to more complex driving situations.

Finally, in addition to graduated driver licensing systems there is another approach that has been found to promote safe driving practices in young drivers; PARENTS! Parents play an important role in promoting safe driving in their son/daughter and also ensuring that their son/daughter abides by the licensing conditions. Research shows a link between parenting style and young driver crash risk. Low parental monitoring and control are related to risky driving behaviours, traffic violations and crashes.

How was Going Solo developed ?

The ExxonMobil Australia group of companies has funded the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) to develop a comprehensive and accessible resource for parents of novice drivers. The first stage of the project looked at what information was currently available for parents (see Report 243). Australian information has generally focused on how to encourage and supervise a learner driver. It was concluded that more information is needed for parents to assist their newly licensed drivers once they commence driving unsupervised (the P-plate period). Going Solo was developed by focussing on crashes that commonly involve P-plate drivers based on the latest scientific literature. Not only does the booklet inform parents of these risks but also provides strategies to reduce these risks - mainly by encouraging parents to discuss these risks with their P-plate driver and suggest ways for their young driver to minimise or avoid these risky driving situations during the first 12-months of the P-plate period. The booklet was recently trialled amongst parents and their P-plate drivers. The large majority of parents and P-plate drivers found the booklet very informative and assisted in discussing young driver risks. The Going Solo website and booklet was launched on Wednesday June 27th 2007.

How do I obtain a copy of the booklet?

It is important that the ideas in the Going Solo booklet are spread widely across Australia among parents and P-plate drivers. The Going Solo booklet has the potential to change the behaviour of newly licensed drivers which, one day, could ultimately lead to a young driver avoiding a minor crash, or serious injury, or worse. Click on the link at the top of the page to download the booklet.

Please let your friends and family know about Going Solo. If you wish to provide any feedback or to obtain printed copies of the booklet, please email us at: MUARC-Enquiries@monash.edu

Acknowledgements

Much hard work has gone into developing the Going Solo booklet from a range of professionals. Special thanks to Christine Mulvihill and Belinda Clark for their work on early drafts of the booklet. Thanks to Dr Teresa Senserrick and Dr Narelle Haworth for their project leadership during the early stages of the booklet and to Glenda Cairns for tireless web publishing. The Going Solo team are very appreciative of the experts from around the world who reviewed the booklet: Dr Teresa Senserrick (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), Dr. Bill Griggs (Royal Adelaide Hospital), Joanne Chesire (RTA), Helen Benham (RTA), Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan (Orange and Cabonne Shire) Snr Constable Mark Brown (NSW Police), Peter Keogh (Victoria Police), Dr Bruce Simons-Morton (National Institute of Child and Health Development), William Gibbons (Department of Justice), Adjunct Professor Allan Williams (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), Sophie Oh (VicRoads), Trish Paddick (Koonung Secondary College), and Vince Lagioia (Parenting Research Centre). The final booklet was also based on feedback from a sample of parents, and we thank them for their time and incisive comments. Thanks to the drivers and passengers from MUARC who were photographed for the booklet. Finally, thanks to the ExxonMobil Australia group of companies for their financial support and particularly Lisa Trood for her significant contribution to the project.

Exxon Mobil