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Where driver training and education can work

29 April 2015

Writing in a recent edition of TRL News Dr Shaun Hellman ‎Head of Transport Psychology, warns that although driver training and education has sought to make young and novice drivers safer, generally the evidence has shown that it has failed to have an appreciable direct impact on safety. He explains that there are however positive exceptions – for example in the UK the introduction of hazard perception testing which has been associated with a reduction in some on-road collisions, and that similar findings have emerged from Australia.

He explains that: ‘there are also some instances of training and educational interventions apparently increasing risk; one classic example is training in skid control, with evidence from Norway and Finland showing that this can actually lead to young drivers having more collisions, presumably through over-confidence.’

However he highlights the most recent intervention to show promise: ‘telematics or the use of ‘black box’ in-vehicle data recorders (IVDRs). Such approaches have the benefits of being able to target not only well-understood risk factors such as age, experience, and when young drivers are driving, but also how drivers are actually driving on a day to day basis. The idea is that if young drivers’ driving behaviour is monitored, they can be persuaded to become safer drivers, either through incentives (such as discounts on their insurance premiums) or through the provision of feedback, possibly with parental involvement.’
‘Evidence suggests that driver behaviour can be positively influenced through IVDR monitoring with the right feedback and incentive scheme. However, evidence also suggests that these behavioural shifts do not remain once the monitoring is removed. Further research of how best to utilise IVDR monitoring systems and improve driver acceptance and engagement with monitoring systems is therefore required.’
‘After leading the original research work that helped to define the problem, TRL is still involved in the cutting edge research that is needed to keep improving young driver safety. Currently, TRL is working with providers of telematics-based insurance products and reviewing the international evidence to understand just how effective such approaches can be. Working with data from multiple insurers, TRL’s research will help inform the next generation of interventions for this age-old problem in road safety.’

The full article can be found here:

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