The evidence base to support pre-driver education and training is “weak at best” and effectively non-existent when collisions and injuries are used to judge success, according to a psychologist from TRL.
TRL’s Poppy Husband made her comments during a presentation delivered at the Young Driver Focus event in Swindon today (14/5/14). She also said that there are circumstances where such interventions can “increase novice driver collision risk”.
Poppy Husband’s presentation summarised the findings of a recent evidence review on novice drivers, carried out by TRL on behalf of the DfT.
She said that very few interventions have been evaluated and most of those that have are of “such low scientific quality that their results cannot be determined as reliable or representative”.
She added that while there is some evidence of small and temporary changes in attitudes, “the relationship between these and subsequent driving behaviour or collision risk has not been demonstrated”.
She went on to say that some pre-driver interventions can actually cause harm, in particular where an intervention leads to early licensure which “will increase novice driver collision risk through the combined effect of exposure to risk and youth”.
Poppy Husband concluded that “robust evaluations using standardised scientific methodologies such as randomised control trials are urgently required”.