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The Potential of Driver Education to Reduce Traffic Crashes Involving Young Drivers
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), SE-581 95 Linköping, Sweden)
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Traffic fatalities and injuries among young drivers as a result of road crashes constitute a serious public health problem. The ultimate goal of traffic safety work in Sweden has been formulated in Vision Zero, which includes an image of a future in which no one will be killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes. Therefore, it is unacceptable that young learner and novice drivers are involved in road crashes that result in fatalities or severe injuries. Driver education is an important tool to increase the probability that young drivers actually take their share of the responsibility for Vision Zero by obeying traffic rules and driving as safely as possible.

The general aim of the work underlying this thesis was to determine the potential of driver education to reduce road traffic crashes involving young drivers, particularly in Sweden. Paper I examined the relationship between the way in which the education is carried out and the outcome of the driving test. Paper II explored whether there are any gender‐related differences regarding driving practicing, the outcome of the license tests, and involvement in crashes during the first year of licensure. Paper III evaluated the reform that made it possible for learner drivers to start practicing from 16 years of age in terms of its effects on crashes involving young novice drivers. In paper IV, the focus was on investigating crashes during practice and comparing the results with the corresponding situation for novice divers during their first two years of licensure. Paper V assessed an insight‐based educational approach aimed at inducing young drivers to make better use of vehicle‐related safety equipment.

The findings of two of the studies (papers III and IV) showed that, in Sweden, taking advantage of the possibility to start practicing behind the wheel from the age of 16 years had a beneficial effect seen as reduced crash involvement among those young drivers. In paper V, it was revealed that using an insight‐based educational approach can have a positive influence on learner drivers’ knowledge of and attitudes towards the use of car safety equipment (e.g., safety belts). In paper I, it was found that it is difficult to explain why 18–24‐year‐olds pass or fail the driving test on the basis of background variables and information concerning how they had practiced driving. Paper II showed that, for females, training pursued in a more structured manner did not seem to be beneficial for the outcome of the license tests, and that males aged 18–24 were involved in 1.9 more injury crashes per 1,000 drivers than females during their first year of licensed driving. Suggestions are given that can be used to develop the Swedish licensing system in a way that will increase the potential of driver education to reduce traffic crashes among young drivers. These ideas comprise aspects such as the following: persuading the youngest learner driver population to start practicing as early and as much as possible; the learning period should be better organized, which includes improved agreement between the goals of the national curriculum, the content/process of driver education, and the design of the license tests; professional instruction of learners in both the theory and the practice of driving should be a more prominent component of driver education; and parts of the Swedish licensing system should be made mandatory to help solve the problems of young drivers and to fulfil he goals of the national curriculum.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för hälsa och samhälle , 2007.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 985
Keyword [en]
Driver education, Young drivers, Public health, Traffic safety. Attitudes, Questionnnaires, Crashes
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-8424ISBN: 978‐91‐85715‐69‐5 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-8424DiVA: diva2:23216
Public defence
2007-03-23, Aulan, Hälsans hus, Campus US, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
On the date of the defence the status of article II was: In press.Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2009-05-11
List of papers
1. Practicing in relation to the outcome of the driving test
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Practicing in relation to the outcome of the driving test
2007 (English)In: Accident Analysis and Prevention, ISSN 0001-4575, E-ISSN 1879-2057, Vol. 39, no 1, 159-168 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, a written and a driving test must be passed for licensure, and these two examinations are the only means of verifying that learner drivers have acquired the competencies stipulated in the national curriculum. The present study investigated 18–24-year olds regarding the effects of personal background and mode of driver education instruction on the outcome of the driving test. This was done by analysing the following for individual subjects: data on practicing obtained using a questionnaire, and test results of license tests. The results suggest that among the candidates under study, there are equal opportunities in the context of obtaining a driver's license independent of a person's background. The rate of passing was higher for those who started behind-the-wheel training at 16 and applied to take the driving test via a driving school, than for those who started the training at an older age and applied to take the test in person. It was also found that the probability of passing the test was greater if there is successful cooperation between learner and driving school instructor, and if a large proportion of the training been devoted to the task speed adaptation.

Keyword
Driver education, Driving test, Questionnairem, Learner drivers
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14310 (URN)10.1016/j.aap.2006.06.015 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2014-01-20
2. Practicing for and performance on driver’s license tests in relation to gender differences in crash involvement among novice drivers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Practicing for and performance on driver’s license tests in relation to gender differences in crash involvement among novice drivers
2007 (English)In: Journal of Safety Research, ISSN 0022-4375, E-ISSN 1879-1247, Vol. 38, no 1, 71-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Young male novice drivers are overrepresented in injury motor-vehicle crashes compared to females in the same category. This difference in crash involvement is often assumed to include factors such as overestimation, risk acceptance, and sensation seeking, but it can also be related to acquisition of knowledge, skills, insight, and driving experience. Therefore, this study explored possible gender differences among 18–24-year-olds in Sweden regarding practicing as learners, outcome of the driver's tests, and crash involvement during the first year after licensure.

Method: Data for 2005 from different sources (e.g., questionnaires, license test, and crash statistics) were examined. It was not possible to follow individual subjects through all stages or in all analyses. Nevertheless, the study design did enable scrutinization and discussion of gender differences between younger inexperienced drivers with respect to education and training, license test results, and initial period of licensure.

Results: Males and females assimilated tuition in different ways. Females studied more theory, pursued training in a more structured manner, practiced more elements of driving in several different environments, and participated more extensively in driving school instruction. National statistics showed that females did better on the written test but not on the driving test. Males were involved in 1.9 more injury crashes per 1,000 drivers than females during their first year of licensed driving. The proportional distribution of crash types was the same for both sexes during the first period as novice drivers, but the circumstances surrounding the accidents varied (e.g., males were involved in more night crashes).

Impact on traffic safety: More structured training while learning appears to be one of the reasons why females initially do better than males as novice drivers. Therefore, in the future, driver education should focus not only on matters such as the amount of time spent on training and preconditioning, but also on the importance of the organization and content of the learning process.

Keyword
Driver education, Drivers license tests, Gender, Novice drivers, Crashes
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14311 (URN)10.1016/j.jsr.2007.01.001 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2014-01-20
3. Sixteen years age limit for learner drivers in Sweden: an evaluation of safety effects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sixteen years age limit for learner drivers in Sweden: an evaluation of safety effects
Show others...
2000 (English)In: Accident Analysis and Prevention, ISSN 0001-4575, Vol. 32, no 1, 25-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Through a reform implemented in Sweden, September 1993, the age limit for practising car driving was lowered from 17½ to 16 years while the licensing age remained 18. The purpose of lowering the age limit was to give the learner drivers an opportunity to acquire more experience as drivers before being allowed to drive on their own. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the reform in terms of accident involvement and data were therefore obtained from the national register of police reported accidents. The results show that after the reform there was a general reduction in the accident risk (accidents per 10 million km) of novice drivers with approximately 15%. Additional analyses show that the reduction of accident risk in the group who utilised the new age limit was approximately 40%, whereas those who did not utilise the prolonged training period did not benefit at all. Between 45 and 50% of the age population were found to utilise the reform. The accident reduction does not seem to be just an initial first year effect since the results were similar over 3 years of novice drivers during their first 2 years with a licence. These results suggest that the reform has been beneficial for the safety of novice drivers in Sweden. The results also suggest a potential for additional safety improvements if more young learner drivers can be brought to utilise the low age limit.

Keyword
Learner drivers, Accident involvement, Safety effects, Sixteen years old
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14312 (URN)10.1016/S0001-4575(99)00045-7 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2009-05-15
4. Accident involvement among learner drivers: an analysis of the consequences of supervised practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Accident involvement among learner drivers: an analysis of the consequences of supervised practice
2003 (English)In: Accident Analysis and Prevention, ISSN 0001-4575, Vol. 35, no 5, 725-730 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is a well-known fact that experience is important for safe driving. Previously, this presented a problem since experience was mostly gained during the most dangerous period of driving—the first years with a licence. In many countries, this “experience paradox” has been addressed by providing increased opportunities to gain experience through supervised practice. One question, however, which still needs to be answered is what has been lost and what has been gained through supervised practice. Does this method lead to fewer accidents after licensing and/or has the number of accidents in driving practice increased? There were three aims in the study. The first was to calculate the size of the accident problem in terms of the number of accidents, health risk and accident risk during practising. The second aim was to evaluate the solution of the “experience paradox” that supervised practice suggests by calculating the costs in terms of accidents during driving practice and the benefits in terms of reduced accident involvement after obtaining a licence. The third aim was to analyse conflict types that occur during driving practice. National register data on licence holders and police-reported injury accidents and self-reported exposure were used. The results show that during the period 1994–2000, 444 driving practice injury accidents were registered, compared to 13,657 accidents during the first 2 years with a licence. The health risk during the period after licensing was 33 times higher and the accident risk 10 times higher than the corresponding risk during practice. The cost-benefit analysis showed that the benefits in terms of accident reduction after licensing were 30 times higher than the costs in terms of driving practice accidents. It is recommended that measures to reduce such accidents should focus on better education of the lay instructor, but not on introducing measures to reduce the amount of lay-instructed practice.

Keyword
Accident risk, Traffic safety, Learner drivers, Driver training, Novice drivers
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14313 (URN)10.1016/S0001-4575(02)00051-9 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27
5. Safety halls: an evaluation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Safety halls: an evaluation
2005 (English)In: Journal of Safety Research, ISSN 0022-4375, Vol. 36, no 5, 429-439 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Problem

In most countries, drivers licensing systems usually include teaching some aspects of using safety equipment (e.g., airbags and seat belts). However, there is now evidence worldwide that such education is inadequate, as indicated by, for example, the overrepresentation of young drivers who do not use seat belts.

Method

A randomized controlled study was conducted in Sweden to evaluate the effects of visiting a facility known as a “safety hall” in combination with the mandatory skid training. The results were assessed to determine the effects of the knowledge and attitudes of learner drivers in the following subjects: airbags, securing loads, seat belts, sitting posture, speed, and tires. An experimental group and a control group comprising 658 and 668 learners, respectively, answered identical questionnaires on three different occasions (pretest, posttest 1, and posttest 2).

Results

The results show that, for most of the topics considered, knowledge and attitudes in both groups were better at posttest 2 than at the pretest, and in general, the best knowledge and attitudes were found in the experimental group. The combined safety/skid training seems to have had the greatest effect on seat belts and loads. The findings also indicate that the safety halls can be further improved to achieve an even better effect.

Impact on Traffic Safety

The use of safety halls has improved the knowledge and attitudes of learner drivers concerning several important areas related to traffic safety. Since knowledge and attitudes are important predictors of behavior, implementing safety halls can be expected to lead to improvements, especially regarding the use of safety belts and securing loads.

Keyword
Driver education; Learner drivers; Seat belt use; Knowledge; Attitudes
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14314 (URN)10.1016/j.jsr.2005.08.004 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2009-05-28

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