Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Driver education
Driver education renaissance?
  1. A F Williams,
  2. S A Ferguson
  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Arlington, Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Allan F Williams
 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201, USA;

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Why we need evidence based highway safety policy

Despite decades of research indicating driver education does not reduce crash involvement among beginning drivers, it still has tremendous popular appeal as a means to improve driver safety. Formal driver education programs enjoy widespread public acceptance around the world as the preferred way to prepare beginners for licensure. For example, a survey in the United States found that 86% considered driver education courses “very important” in training new drivers to drive safely. Only 2% thought it was not important.1 When the young driver problem is addressed in public forums, there inevitably is an appeal for more or better driver education.


Several comprehensive international reviews of the best scientific evaluations of driver education programs for young beginners all come to the same conclusion: There is no difference in the crash records of driver education graduates compared with equivalent groups of beginners who learned to drive without formal education.2–6 The most recent review of driver education studies states, “There is little evidence that pre-license training per se reduces crash rates among novice drivers in the short or longer term”.2

There is little evidence that courses teaching advanced driving maneuvers such as skid control improve driver safety, and they can produce adverse outcomes. These courses have become quite popular in the United States as a way to supplement basic driver education. The courses generally are taught by police or in advanced driving schools using test track facilities. In two studies conducted in the United States and Norway, young males who received such training were found to have higher crash rates than comparable drivers who did not take these courses.7,8 A Finnish study reported that both young males and females experienced slightly higher rates of slippery surface crashes after receiving …

View Full Text