Evidence supports introduction of graduated driver licensing
This submission draws on both RAC Foundation published research and the broader literature to highlight the key risk factors associated with young and novice driver safety alongside the evidence-based actions that can be taken to improve the safety of this vulnerable group. There are several individual young and novice driver risk factors that have been found to consistently have an influence on young driver safety. These include:
• Age of driver;
• Gender of driver;
• Driver (in)experience;
• Developmental maturity;
• Proneness to errors;
• Proneness to risky driving behaviour;
• Susceptibility to distractions (peer passengers & technology) and impairments (fatigue and alcohol effects); and
• Driving skills gaps (higher order skills competence such as hazard perception and strategies for managing risk).
In addition to these individual level risk factors, it is important to recognise that the overall safety system (e.g. licensing laws, enforcement, school, family and peer safety climate etc) has an important influence on outcomes.
Research consistently highlights several evidence-based interventions for improving young and novice driver safety. These include:
• Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) – including mandatory learning periods and hours of supervised practice pre-test and elements such as passenger, alcohol and night-time restrictions post-test;
• Hazard perception training;
• Education delivered and evaluated in accordance with best evidence and approaches which focus on higher order level skills such as hazard perception training and strategies for managing risk, as well as engaging with parents and acting in support of other parts of the road safety system (e.g. licensing rules or road traffic laws);
• Parental involvement via active approaches using concrete tools – such as parent-teen agreements and in-vehicle data recorder/telematic feedback; and
• In-vehicle data recorder/telematic feedback to provide feedback, consequences and incentives for safe driving behaviours, via parental and/or insurance provider monitoring.
In light of this evidence base, the RAC Foundation strongly supports the introduction of GDL to the UK and the further promotion of hazard perception training by Government agencies and intervention providers. The evidence also points to the importance of Government, industry, the public sector and the third sector working together to deliver integrated programmes of activity designed to have maximum impact on young and novice driver safety.