The Effectiveness of Driver Training As a Road Safety Measure
A Review of The Literature
The effectiveness of driver training as a road safety measure is a controversial issue within the professional and public arena. The worth of driver training for car drivers as a means of improving driver behaviour and reducing road crash involvement is continually debated in Australia and overseas.
In an effort to inform road safety professionals, and the public at large, about the merits and effectiveness of such training as a crash countermeasure, RACV commissioned RCSC Services Pty Ltd to perform an extensive review of the international literature concerning driver training.
In particular, the effectiveness of driver training programs for learner drivers, young/recently licensed drivers and experienced drivers were investigated.
The review suggests that driver training cannot be considered an effective crash countermeasure and that other approaches such as increased supervision and graduated licensing for novice drivers are likely to make greater and more lasting contributions to road safety.
There is continuing public and media debate in Australia and overseas about the worth of training for car drivers as a means of improving driver behaviour and reducing road crash involvement.
Calls for increased or compulsory driver training are often heard when the road toll appears to be rising in a particular jurisdiction.
The purpose of this report is to provide an up-to-date review of Australian and international research about the effectiveness of driver training programs for learner drivers, young/recently licensed drivers and experienced drivers.
Effectiveness was taken to mean to what degree driver training programs reduce the crash risk or involvement of participants relative to comparable drivers who did not undertake such programs.
However, given that not all published evaluations are crash-based other measures such as positive changes in driver behaviour were also included.
This report examines evaluations and reviews published in scientific journals, conference proceedings or by reputable sources such as government agencies, universities, and research organisations.
The report reviews materials published in Australia, New Zealand, North America, United Kingdom and Europe over the last three decades. The greatest credence was given to studies that applied scientific principles to the evaluation of the effects of driver training on crash involvement, crash risk or other factors such as driver behaviour.
Driver training and driver education are not the same. However, it has become common even in the scientific literature for these terms to be used synonymously. While education is broad and intellectually based, training is usually practical and focused on building specific skills and competencies, usually over a short time period.
This review deals predominantly with driver training rather than education per se. However, given that many driver training programs have been termed “education” there was a need to review published materials labelled as both “driver education” and “driver training” in the course of compiling this report.