Young Driver Evidence being overlooked
RoadSafe Executive Director writes: 'Today I attended the Young Driver Focus held in London – it was a very good event which brought together many who operate on the front-line of young driver education with policy makers and research experts.
I hope that a fuller report will be available through the next edition of RoadSafe News, but one thing struck me forcibly, especially during the The Big Debate – does pre-driver training for the under-17s make for safer young, newly qualified drivers? – that many who have responsibility for the delivery of driver education or training are still ignoring the evidence. It is really hard to find new interventions which have a real effect and we welcome the review being carried out by the UK Government.
I recommend that all who are involved in this area of road safety work read the evidence available on The Road Safety Observatory. Of particular note:
- There is little research evidence that increased formal driver training, before, during and after learning to drive, improves safety .
- A number of themes have emerged that offer the hope of improving the effectiveness of training, in making training address the cognitive and attitudinal aspects of driving.
- Overall, the evidence suggests that pre-driver, driver education and training provision and testing is not sufficiently effective in helping young drivers to drive safely and reduce accident risk.
One approach which has support from a wide range of research experts is that risk can be reduced by closer parental involvement, good example and a longer time spent learning.
We look forward to the outcomes of the scientific evaluation in GB four types of key interventions :
- interventions engaging parents in managing post-test driving in specific situations;
- interventions engaging a range of stakeholders (and utilising a logbook approach) in increasing the amount and breadth of pre-test on-road experience;
- interventions utilising technology (IVDRs) and possibly parents as well to manage driver behaviour post-test
- and interventions to train hazard perception skill
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