PEOPLE born in Asian countries are safer drivers than those born in Australia, according to traffic safety researchers.Young drivers born in Asia had half the risk of being involved in a traffic crash compared with their Australian-born counterparts, a study of 20,000 P-plate drivers in NSW found.They were also less likely to speed, tailgate and drive while distracted by things such as mobile phones and loud music, compared with drivers born here and in other countries.Soufiane Boufous, the study leader and a senior research fellow in injury and epidemiology at the George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney, said his team wanted to identify and help particular ethnic groups that were more at risk of accidents.”But then we found it was the Australian-born people who had the higher risk [and] Asian drivers were the least likely to take risks,” he said.More than 31 per cent of drivers born in Australia, and 30 per cent of those born in regions outside Australia and Asia, admitted to risky behaviours. But only about 25 per cent of those born in Asia admitted to the same behaviours, he wrote in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.Dr Boufous said Asian-born drivers might have been safer than others born overseas in part because the Asian people in the study tended to have lived in Australia for a shorter time.”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.A clinical psychologist, Jeroen Decates, said young people who had grown up in Australia tended to be more likely to break rules and take risks than those from many Asian countries.Yet the stereotype that Asian drivers were not good drivers persisted.Much of the reason for the stereotype might be that people are more likely to notice when someone from an Asian background drove badly than when someone from a different background did because it confirmed their beliefs.”When everyone else says something we are more likely to think it must be true,” he said. ”We always look for confirmations of our own beliefs.”