Mike Stevens | Jun 17, 2010

A study of 20,000 'P-plate' drivers in NSW has shown that motorists born in Asia drive more safely than their Australian-born counterparts.

Conducted by the University of NSW's George Institute, the study showed that motorists who grew up in Asian countries are less likely to drive beyond the speed limit, allow themselves to become distracted while driving, or tailgate other vehicles.

However, the difference is slight: only 25 percent of respondents born in Asia admitted to dangerous behaviour on the road, while 30 percent of motorists born in Australia, and 31 percent born outside of Australia and Asia, made the same admission.

Research fellow Dr Soufiane Boufous said the study began with the hopes of establishing if particular ethnic groups were more at risk of accidents than others, and devising ways to help those groups.

''But then we found it was the Australian-born people who had the higher risk. Asian drivers were the least likely to take risks,'' Dr Boufous said.

The results of the study are not clear on the cause behind the numbers, although Dr Boufous suggests the shorter exposure to the Australian lifestyle may be a factor.

''We found that the longer people stay here the more likely they are to change and become similar to the Australian-born people,'' he said.

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