Female passenger and no extra men will help beat road toll

AN AMERICAN academic could hold the key to halting the carnage on Sunshine Coast roads - put a female in every passenger seat.

It is a hypothetical suggestion, but it is just one of the findings that will be posed at a free young drivers seminar at the University of the Sunshine Coast tomorrow.

Bruce Simon-Morton, of the National Institute of Health in Washington, will reveal his latest findings at the seminar recommended for parents, teenage drivers, driving instructors and those interested in learning more about why young drivers are more susceptible to crashes.

He will provide comparisons in driving performance between teenagers and their parents, teenagers in the presence of passengers and after parental interventions.

As part of his research, Mr Simon-Morton has found many young men drive more carefully when a female is in the car, but with each male passenger added to the car, they drive more recklessly.

Do you think it's safer to drive in a car with female passengers?

This poll ended on 28 March 2014.

Current Results

Yep, no doubt about it.

20%

No, I think it's safer driving with men

8%

Does it really matter?

12%

I think it depends on who the actual passenger is

58%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"Teenage drivers have a much higher crash rate and engage in risky behaviour," he said. "The biggest reason is inexperience."

Mr Simon-Morton supported the gradual licence system that is in place in Queensland and even a possible lift in the age when a person can apply for a

licence in an effort to cut crashes.

"Young people lack maturity and judgment skills that experienced adult drivers have gained," he said.

"They crave risk at a higher level and engage in risk behaviour that they don't consider to be risky."

Mr Simon-Morton and three other academics will speak at the workshop with plenty of opportunities for questions.

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker will speak on learner driver experiences, Teresa Senserrick will draw on her 20 years' research experience in young driver education and training and Professor Paul Salmon will delve into just how aware young drivers are of their surroundings.

The session begins at 9.30am at the Innovation Centre, Sippy Downs Dr. RSVP to FABResearchEvents@usc.edu.au.


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