Title: A review of interventions which seek to increase the safety of young and novice drivers

Organisation: DfT & TRL
Date uploaded: 19th September 2017
Date published/launched: August 2017

The heightened collision risk of newly qualified drivers (especially those who are also young) relative to their driving exposure is well documented in Great Britain and around the world.

Some interventions that seek to reduce this risk do so through licensing systems that maximise maturity and on-road experience before licensure (typically through minimum learning periods) and seek to limit exposure to risky situations such as night time driving and carrying peer-age passengers when solo driving begins.

Some interventions take an alternative approach; broadly, they use a variety of methods (e.g. training, education, technology, engagement with drivers and their social support networks) in attempts to equip learners with the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to become a safer driver.

This report considers this second type of intervention. The primary objective was to identify, from the available literature, between three and five interventions that have the greatest potential to reduce the collision rates of newly qualified drivers based on existing evidence of efficacy. The scientific literature since 2000 was reviewed for interventions that demonstrated either evidence of effectiveness in terms of reducing collisions (or a risk factor related to collisions), or (where evaluation had not yet been possible) some theoretical plausibility that they may reduce such risk.

The review of the literature found only a small amount of good quality empirical evidence. Nonetheless, a small number of approaches have either shown some effectiveness, or show promise in terms of their theoretical grounding.

A workshop was then held with stakeholders to discuss how these ‘most promising’ interventions might be implemented, both in an evaluation trial in GB, and in later roll-out (for interventions shown to be effective on the basis of such evaluation).

Deliverability was considered in a broad and qualitative sense; detailed examination of the cost-effectiveness of different interventions was beyond the scope of the work. Based on the evidence reviewed and the workshop discussions, there are four intervention types that are recommended for proper evaluation, ideally against collision outcomes, and in a randomised controlled trial in GB, to establish comprehensively their efficacy in reducing the risks to newly qualified drivers.

These interventions are:
1. An intervention to engage parents in managing post-test driving in specific risky situations
2. An intervention to engage a range of stakeholders (and utilising a logbook approach) in increasing the amount and breadth of pre-test on-road experience
3. An intervention utilising technology (in-vehicle data recorders or ‘telematics’) and possibly parents to manage driver behaviour post-test
4. An intervention to train hazard perception skill

All of these interventions can be implemented without legislative changes to mandate their use, although it is anticipated that uptake (and therefore effectiveness) would be greater if they could be built into the licensing system.

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