Statement of purpose Massachusetts enacted a Junior Operators License (JOL) Law in 1998 and added several enhanced requirements in 2007. One of those requirements was an increased requirement that parents take a JOL class. MA has seen a marked improvement in JOL injury rates since the 2007 upgrade. The age group still has the highest rate of ED visits per 10,000 licensed drivers. Predicated on evidence that parental involvement improves outcomes for novice teen drivers, MA DPH partnered with MassDOT/Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Harvard Injury Control and Research Centre to undertake an evaluative audit of Parent JOL classes.
Methods/Approach A convenience sample of 18 driving school parent classes was chosen. Schools were chosen from different parts of the state, form richer and poorer communities, and from urban/suburban/rural settings. The evaluation of each class was performed in two parts: an audit/evaluation of the class itself and a 12 question post-test for parents at the end of the class. This work was performed from February 2013 to March 2014.
Results The class audits found wide variation in teaching styles and in information imparted about the JOL law. A total of 352 parent post tests were administered. Correlation between “quality” of class and post test scores was not strong. Many parents were confused about the JOL restrictions.
Conclusions A report with recommendations was produced as a result of the evaluative audit and delivered to the RMV leadership. Recommendations made fell under one of several categories: training teachers; standardising materials used in classes and specifying content for inclusion in classes. Based on this evaluative audit the RMV has decided to explore strengthening the Parent class outline, making it a more prescriptive curriculum
Significance and contribution to the field The findings provide valuable information for prevention efforts in other states as many states are considering instituting parent requirements for their JOL laws.
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