Aug 16, 2012
New driver training study highlights importance of post-licence skills (Science Network):
“Crash rates are highest immediately after licensing…so there is potential for improving safety during the first six months,” Dr Beanland says…“Driving involves a highly complex skill set, so drivers need some kind of training and practice to acquire those skills…The paper found cognitive skills training (particularly hazard perception) had the potential to significantly reduce crash risk, and procedural skills training (specifically vehicle handling) was effective at improving the technical skills of drivers…The review concludes it appears that different types of training enhance the safety of novice drivers at different stages of the licensure process and as such, programs should be tailored to specific populations and evaluated accordingly.”
- Abstract: Although driver training programs are currently popular, the degree to which they reduce crash involvement remains ambiguous. This paper aims to determine how effective driver training has been in improving young novice drivers’ on-road safety and to identify key research limitations. A literature review was undertaken examining evaluations of driver training programs, primarily those published within the past decade (2001–2011). The review utilised peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, books, government reports and consultant reports. Both pre- and post-licence training programs were considered. Pre-licence training programs aim to develop the skills that are required to obtain a driver’s licence and drive safely, such as basic vehicle control and traffic assessment. Post-licence training programs aim to enhance skills that are considered relevant to crash prevention including skid control, hazard perception and advanced vehicle control skills. The results of the review indicate that some forms of training have been effective for procedural skill acquisition and other programs have been found to improve drivers’ hazard perception. Conversely, evidence suggests that traditional driver training programs have not reduced young drivers’ crash risk. Caution is urged when interpreting this finding as major methodological flaws were identified in previous evaluation studies, including: no control group; non-random group assignment; failure to control or measure confounding variables; and poor program design. Further, the validity and usefulness of crash rates as an outcome measure is questionable. More robust research should be undertaken to evaluate driver training programs, using more sensitive measures to assess drivers’ on-road safety.