Understanding novice driver policy agenda setting

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Public Health, 2011, 125 (4), pp. 217 - 221
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Background: Despite the acute impact of road trauma involving novice drivers, there have been few efforts to identify the main factors influencing the novice driver policy agenda. Increasing the transparency of such policy dynamics may help inform future novice driver policy agenda-setting processes, as well as those in other public health settings. Methods: Forty interviews were conducted between 2007 and 2009 with individuals involved in novice driver policy debates and processes in four Australian states. Results: An increasing body of positive evaluations from other jurisdictions was seen to provide an initial stimulus for Australian novice driver policy activities. The dissemination of evidence by researchers, lobbying and advocacy by other influential stakeholders, and media reporting of multiple-fatality novice driver crashes were seen as other factors central to policy agenda setting. Conclusions: Australian graduated driver licensing (GDL) policy initiatives may only be acted upon once adequate political support is identified in terms of community demand for action and public acceptance of GDL policy in neighboring states. As such, researcher encouragement of community support for unpopular evidence-based policies during windows of opportunity for policy reform may act as an influential agenda-setting force. © 2011 The Royal Society for Public Health.
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