How science informs engineering, education, and enforcement: A message for driving instructors

J.C.F. de Winter, Natalia Kovacsova

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

    3 Citations (Scopus)
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    The aim of this chapter is to illustrate to driving instructors how science contributes to cumulative knowledge on road safety. We do this by reviewing a scientific study for each of the three classical Es of road safety: (1) education, (2) enforcement, and (3) engineering.
    Regarding education, we review the DeKalb experiment from the 1980s, which was a largesample randomized controlled trial that studied the effect of driver education on postlicense crash rates. The DeKalb experiment showed that participants who were assigned to a state-of-the-art driver education program performed better on theory and road tests, and became licensed sooner than control participants who did not receive formal driving instruction. Although the state-of-the-art education improved these target outcomes, there is no consistent evidence that it reduced crash risk. The recent consensus is that theoretical knowledge and skillful maneuvering alone are not sufficient for safe driving. Drivers should also have postlicense on-road experience and the lifestyle and attitudes that contribute to a safe driving style.
    Regarding enforcement, we describe a UK study from the late 1990s on the statistical reliability of the formal road test. In this study, driving test candidates were asked to retake the test with a different examiner. The results showed surprisingly low consistency between the two tests, indicating that an assessment of a 30-minute drive might not be trustworthy. We provide several recommendations (such as increasing the test duration and implementing standardized routes and checklists) for improving the reliability of road testing. Furthermore, the value of computerized testing (e.g., hazard perception testing) and long-term data collection (e.g., in-vehicle driver state monitoring) is addressed.
    Regarding engineering, the growing prevalence of active safety systems in vehicles has raised the question of how to treat such technologies in driver education curricula. A study on electronic stability control (ESC) was reviewed to illustrate how advances in technology improve road safety and affect elements of on-road training. In the case of ESC, skid training has become less relevant, but it is unknown whether learner drivers should experience critical driving situations during which the ESC gets activated. This may foster their overconfidence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook of Teen and Novice Drivers
    Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Practice, Policy, and Directions
    EditorsDonald L. Fisher, Jeff K. Caird, William J. Horrey, Lana M. Trick
    Place of PublicationBoca Raton, FL, USA
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4665-8702-1
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4665-8700-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project

    Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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