Aggressive Driving Research Findings

Here are selected paragraphs from a recent study by The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (1997) titled Novice Driver Education Model Curriculum Outline. The original, which is over 100 pages long, can be seen here. It includes References. I have selected those paragraphs which seem to me to reflect the activities and interests of YARR in relation to lifelong driver's education in general, and novice young drivers in particular.


Prepared for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety by: Lawrence Lonaro, Northport Associates Kathryn Clinton, Northport Associates John Brock, Interscience America Gerald Wilde, Queen's University Irene Laurie, Northport Associates Douglas Black, Northport Associates


The number of novice drivers has been declining for many years, and this has reduced new driver losses. However, this trend will reverse over the rest of the decade as the "baby boom echo" reaches driving age. In addition, economic recession reduces the number of young driver fatalities, so economic recovery may contribute to increased young driver fatalities in the later 1990s. Over the next few years the problem of novice drivers of all ages will take on greater importance.

New drivers lack important skills, particularly those needed to acquire and process information. They are less able to maintain full attention and less likely to take in the information they need from the driving environment. They are not as good as experienced drivers in scanning the environment, recognizing potential hazards while they are still at a safe distance, and making tough decisions quickly. They tend to underestimate the danger of certain risky situations and overestimate the danger in others.

What drivers are able to do and what they choose to do are two different things. Knowledge of how to control a car is not as critical to safety as individual motivation: Strong motivation makes up for weak skills better than strong skills make up for weak motivation. Without strong motivation to reduce risk, advanced skills training can lead to more crashes, not fewer.

Risk acceptance is not the same thing as crash acceptance. Few drivers will take a risky action if they know it will result in a crash. Instead, risky choices result from poor risk perception and inability to detect hazards, often coupled with overconfidence. Good risk detection, good risk evaluation, and strong motivation may support each other. However, if driver education is to produce safer drivers it must reinforce the individual and community factors that positively influence personal motivation and social responsibility.

driver education needs to involve family intervention and must take advantage of the family's strengths in influencing early driving behavior. Parents and guardians need to take a more active and effective role as their children learn to drive. A major challenge for driver education is to discover how to motivate parents to become more realistic about their children's driving, and about the limitations of driver education courses, without turning them off to formal training.

Demographic and economic trends will lead to an increased market demand for driver education in the coming years. The number of young people is increasing (as are health care costs), and the number and cost of crashes will almost certainly increase concomitantly. With a new, more effective driver education curriculum, issues of standards, governance, and teacher and instructor training will become more important. In addition, the trend towards privatization of driver education will produce new business opportunities for driving schools, suppliers of instructional materials, and instructor trainers. Standards for the compatibility of hardware and software will be needed as technology develops and driver education becomes more complex.

Streff investigated Michigan collision data for precrash hazardous actions by young drivers (15 to 18 years old). The actions identified, in order of prevalence, were: 1) following too closely; 2) failure to yield; 3) speed too fast; 4) improper lane use; 5) improper turn; and 6) improper backing/start. The prevalence of these actions declined over individual years, and the hazardous action category "None" increased. In fatal crashes, the order of the categories was: 1) speed too fast; 2) failure to yield; 3) following too closely; and 4) improper lane use.

Rothe (1986) summarized young driver faults causing crashes from a review of literature as follows: 1) failure to keep in proper lane, running off road; 2) failure to yield right of way; 3) speeding; 4) driving on wrong side of the road; 5) failure to obey traffic signs; 6) reckless driving; 7) inattentiveness; 8) overtaking; 9) being fatigued; and 10) poor equipment.

Based on violation and collision data, McKnight and Resnick (in Young, 1993 DOT Workshop) summarized frequent youth violations as: speeding, sign non-observance, equipment defects, turning unlawfully, passing unsafely, right of way violations, major infractions, and alcohol. However, based on observation they concluded, "Of several hazardous driving practices thought to be engaged in by young drivers, the authors believe that only speeding can be said to occur more often among youthful than among experienced drivers" (p.c-3). Acceptance of shorter gaps when turning was also reported, although they could not relate this to crashes. They point out that young males' higher incidence of rear end collisions could result either from their shorter headway choice or higher speed.

Trankle et al. (1990) reviewed predominantly European research and concluded that young drivers are overrepresented in only a few types of crashes: speed-related, loss of control, and nighttime crashes. Inappropriate speed in curves and cutting curves were frequent factors.

Research, evidence addressing the factors accounting for young drivers' excess collision risk was also reviewed in a detailed study by Jonah (1986). He pointed out the inconsistent findings among studies of young drivers' overall perception of their own risk of crashing, compared to older drivers. It was clear that they perceived specific actions, such as speeding, tailgating, or driving impaired, as less risky than did older drivers, and that they rated traffic offenses as less serious.

Mourant and Rockwell's (1972) evidence that novice drivers' eye movements show fixations closer to the car, Jonah suggests it means that they are so preoccupied with lane tracking that they lack the spare mental capacity to search ahead for potential hazards. Mourant and Donohue (1977) investigated mirror scanning through eye movement recording and found that novices and even young drivers with considerable experience looked at their mirrors less, and novice' were more likely to make direct looks instead of using the mirrors. The authors recommended finding ways to train for better mirror use.

Jonah highlights Matthews and Moran's (1986) suggestion that young drivers tend to overestimate the risk of low- and medium-risk situations and to underestimate risk in high-risk situations. He suggests, "The weight of empirical evidence tends to support the view that young drivers may take risks more often because they are less likely to recognize risky situations when they develop. The evidence seems to be more supportive of this view when the driving situation is specific (e.g., impaired driving, tailgating)" (p.265). This raises the difficult question of why young drivers engage in riskier practices, whether it is caused by failure to perceive risky situations and potential hazards or by greater acceptance of risk.

Risk tolerance, risk perception, and skill are seen as the most critical factors for young drivers' crashes by Trankle et al. (1990), with risk perception seen as most important. In their research, young males rated slides of driving scenes involving dark, hills, and rural environments as being less risky than did older drivers. Young female drivers rated curves as more hazardous. Young males rated high speeds as less hazardous than did young females.

The authors concluded that the underrated situations "provide few explicit danger signals" (p. 123). This is consistent with other findings that young drivers have a reduced ability to extract the full richness of available information from the environment. We could speculate that this relative inability to extract information from the environment, along with a high need for stimulation, could, in part, account for young drivers' tendency to drive faster than more experienced drivers. This would open the possibility of a skill improvement - better detection of potential hazards - leading to a change in one of the motivational bases of speed choice. Slow or inaccurate hazard detection and choice of high traveling speeds are a particularly risky mix.

Jonah (1986 a and b) provides a good summary of research on the positive and negative value (or "disutility") of risk for young drivers. He summarizes suggested positive utilities such as: outlet for stress, impressing others, increasing stimulation or arousal, taking control and acting independently, opposing adult authority, frustration, fear of failure at school, and peer acceptance. He lists "disutilities" of risk as: death or injury, injury to others, property damage and higher insurance premiums, loss of driving license, fines, and parental censure. He also points out the lack of empirical evidence regarding the relative importance of these motivational factors in the young driver's risk equation.

Young drivers drive faster and closer to the vehicle in front of them, they accept narrower gaps and are more likely to run yellow lights ... risk has greater utility among youth primarily in the expression of emotions like aggression, the seeking of peer approval, the facilitation of .feelings of power and the enhancement of self-esteem. Moreover, there is some evidence that youth tend to underestimate the disutility of risk (e.g., being killed or injured in an accident). This might be a function of young people's perception of themselves as being invincible. Death is a very remote event .for most young people (p.268).

Young drivers drive faster and closer to the vehicle in front of them, they accept narrower gaps and are more likely to run yellow lights ... risk has greater utility among youth primarily in the expression of emotions like aggression, the seeking of peer approval, the facilitation of .feelings of power and the enhancement of self-esteem. Moreover, there is some evidence that youth tend to underestimate the disutility of risk (e.g., being killed or injured in an accident). This might be a function of young people's perception of themselves as being invincible. Death is a very remote event .for most young people (p.268).

The inexperienced drivers are perhaps pressured, or at least induced, to drive as fast and at the same short headways as other drivers whose skills warrant them. If this hypothesis is correct, it reinforces the need for rapidly increasing new drivers' hazard recognition and related skills, and for diagnostic feedback for self-awareness of skill and risk.

Differences in young drivers' risky decisions were studied by observation in an intersection situation by Konecni et al. (I 976). They found that young males traveled much faster on a major arterial road and that they were more likely to run yellow and red lights. However, they were also seen to slow down more often before running the yellow, making it even more likely that they would be caught by the red. Their longer decision time in deciding whether to stop was attributed to their higher speeds and therefore greater distance from the intersection during the critical decision period. Their inexperience may also make it harder for them to respond as quickly in this complex situation, because they do not have the judgment or decision rules as well-established as more experienced drivers.

Wilde sees risk acceptance decisions as being based on the individual's choice of balance between the costs and benefits of choosing either a safer or less safe option. He refers to the preferred balance as the individual's "target level of risk." Relating risk acceptance to education, Wilde (1994b) offers the following definitions: "By education we mean the effort to enlighten, to civilize, and thus to impart more mature views, beliefs, and values, while training refers here to the instilling of the practical perceptual, decisional, and motor skills.

This apparent contradiction could be explained as follows: the belief of being more skilled than fellow drivers increases confidence in one's abilities more than it increases actual abilities. A high confidence in one's abilities could lead to an aggressive style of driving that could lead to more critical situations. If the driver's increased skill is not in proportion to the increased number of critical situations, then there will be more accidents (p.79).

Another problematic element is the apparent large discrepancy that can exist between attitudes, intentions, and actual behavior. Many drivers appear to have "good" attitudes (and driving skills) yet still drive in a dangerous way because they fail to recognise the problems associated with their own behaviour (OECD, 1994 p.37).

While many past road safety efforts have attempted to "change attitudes," few have succeeded in changing behavior. Past failures are likely due, at least in part, to the fusize="3y nature of the driver attitude concept. To better focus DE on novice drivers' motivations, the challenge will be to develop a more refined model of the factors that "drive" driver behavior. These are divided into two basic categories, or "educable qualities." First is individual motivation, which includes all the individualistic drives and needs, including self control, risk tolerance, emotions, incentives, disincentives, and stimulus seeking. Second is social responsibility, which includes a wide range of culturally-determined needs, including "active caring" (Geller, 1991), leadership, conscientious self-monitoring, and environmental protection.

Longer-term improvement of collision rates is a major challenge, probably requiring an influence program stronger than even an advanced driver education curriculum. To improve collision rates per driver enough to offset increased licensing rates for trained teenagers adds to the challenge. It is possible that no practically implementable education or training package alone will be able to do this. A broader program, including motivational, social, family, and community influences is required.

Various other organizations with road safety mandates take an active, though typically sporadic interest in DE, as advocates, critics, research contributors, or evaluators. There appears to be little focus for or coordination among these potentially powerful resources, although reentry of the NHTSA into the field could help to turn this around. Some U.S. universities serve as academic educators and researchers for DE. The universities can provide interdisciplinary links among safety education, health education, health promotion, and behavioral psychology. There is no comparable resource in Canada.

Trend towards site-based management in the education system, leading to decentralized decision-making and increased parental involvement in many aspects of education Linkages with community programs and resources that support effective driver education Identification of role models in the community, such as peer models, youth group leaders, and other opinion leaders Use of DE to promote other educational goals; for example, as an incentive to stay in school (e.g., must be a sophomore before DE is available) or linkage to truancy (e.g., license suspension if attendance is low) Experiential learning in the community (e.g., assignments to study road safety issues such as a dangerous intersection or relevant council meeting discussion).

Insurers have a major interest in novice drivers, as current and future customers and difficult underwriting risks. In some jurisdictions they help to market DE and to enforce standards through premium discounts for graduates of approved DE courses. Premium discounts have traditionally served to encourage DE participation, to provide an attractive marketing tool for parents facing large premium surcharges, and perhaps to help insurers select better risks. Premium discounts are somewhat controversial, in light of failures to demonstrate net safety effects of DE, but they are difficult for individual insurers to drop because of competitive pressures. In British Columbia, which has a single, government-owned auto insurer, the discount has been dropped.

It has been suggested that it is time to develop an alternative term to replace "driver education," as that term may be too firmly linked to the current structures. No clearly superior candidate has yet presented itself, however. "Road safety education" is already in use in some jurisdictions, linking DE to earlier forms of road user education. This longitudinal extension of the concept is a worthwhile effort, where K-12 safety education can be supported. It does not, however, fully meet the needs of concurrently influencing the novice driver and countering the negative influences that teach poor habits to the novice driver.

A better term would be one that implied activation and coordination of family, community, and regulatory influences along with expanded instruction. Perhaps some term like "driver preparation," "driver apprenticeship," "driver transition," "community driver education," or "driver community development" could serve as a basis for discussion towards a name that better fits an expanded definition.It has been suggested that it is time to develop an alternative term to replace "driver education," as that term may be too firmly linked to the current structures. No clearly superior candidate has yet presented itself, however.

"Road safety education" is already in use in some jurisdictions, linking DE to earlier forms of road user education. This longitudinal extension of the concept is a worthwhile effort, where K-12 safety education can be supported. It does not, however, fully meet the needs of concurrently influencing the novice driver and countering the negative influences that teach poor habits to the novice driver. A better term would be one that implied activation and coordination of family, community, and regulatory influences along with expanded instruction. Perhaps some term like "driver preparation," "driver apprenticeship," "driver transition," "community driver education," or "driver community development" could serve as a basis for discussion towards a name that better fits an expanded definition.

Basic to any educational or other influence effort are assumptions about what critical deficiencies would exist in the absence of the intervention. We should be clear and as correct as possible about: 1) what is lacking in the behavior of novice drivers that needs to be corrected; 2) what growth in ability and character needs to be encouraged; and 3) what educable qualities will support these changes. These assumptions dictate the content, objectives, and methods of instruction that are chosen.

New drivers need to be taught psychomotor and cognitive skilled to handle a vehicle and interact with other road users adequately to pass a licensing test, satisfy the concerns of parents guardians, and become independently mobile.

With respect to safety, the assumptions underlying some earlier DE curricula and structure have apparently not been altogether correct, as the resulting programs were shown to be ineffective for improving net safety. DE can produce drivers with better skill and knowledge, but they seem to crash at about same rate as drivers with less training and lower abilities. The better trained and more able drivers apparently experience more exposure to risk, because they are licensed earlier and perhaps have more confidence and are given less supervision by their parents. In effect, the better training seems to induce motivational and social forces that balance out the benefits of better skills and knowledge.

There may be specific ability improvements that could further improve safety performance, and this should be a priority for DE. However, it is unlikely that skills improvement alone will outweigh the motivational and social forces that raise novice drivers' risk. Nevertheless, it is important to improve the effectiveness of training perceptual and cognitive skills, and especially the efficiency of the training of basic driving skills. It is reasonable to assume that:

Improved training of driving skills is necessary but not sufficient for driver education to better achieve its safety mission.

What drivers can do (their skills and abilities) and what they choose to actually do (based on their individual motivation and social responsibility) are both important to their safety performance - but good motives make up for poor skills better than good skills make up for poor motives.

It has also become clear that fundamental issues of motivation, individual autonomy, social adjustment, economic utility, cultural influence, and personal, family, and community values are critical to safety outcomes for novice drivers, as they are for all drivers. Deficits in driving skills and underlying abilities can be compensated for, within broad limits, to increase safety, and superior levels of skill can be compensated by motivation to decrease safety. These findings lead to the assumption that:

Individual motivation and social responsibility, and the broad range of personal and community factors that influence them, should be the highest priorities if DE is to achieve its safety mission.

As discussed in Section 1, the traditional concept of drivers' attitude is inadequate as a motivational target. Verbal expressions of attitudes are relatively easy to change, but such changes rarely lead to behavior change. For instance, many still-sedentary people now express very positive attitudes toward exercise and fitness. Attitude measures, however, such as that of Malfetti et al. (1989), can be useful for diagnostic purposes and as intermediate measures for assessing the effectiveness of influence interventions. While attitude measures may be useful, they should not be confused with the fundamental motives that they are intended to reflect.

Actual behaviors are determined by a wide range of influences, and are therefore hard to change. Indeed it may be more effective to change behavior directly, and let the attitude follow, than to attempt the reverse (OECD, 1994). However, because of some successes and broad cultural shifts with respect to other health-protective behaviors, it is reasonable to assume that:

Critical components of novice drivers' motivation and responsibility are potentially educable qualities in most target individuals, within the context of a sufficiently broad education and influence program.

Novices in any complex skill are more prone to errors, even when they have a high level of motivation for successful performance. There is a great deal of variation within the novice driver group (Rolls and Ingham, 1992). At least some proportion of novice drivers are also known to engage in a broad range of what has been termed "problem behaviors." They increase their risk through willful violations of safe practice. The relative contribution to novice drivers' crash risk, and what portion of the target population engages in problem behavior, are not clear

To ensure that DE is seen as a family and community intervention, both taking advantage of the family's strengths in influencing early driving behavior and helping to build those strengths, and serving as a focus for coordinating community and organizational influences.

To influence on-road behavior in desirable directions, DE will have to produce a profound impact. In order to counterbalance the many forces tending to induce unsafe driving, DE's intermediate outcome goal should be:

To measurably improve the skills, knowledge, motivations, and reasonable confidence of novice drivers, making them both capable of and committed to maintaining adequate safety margins and remaining crash free throughout their driving career.

Stakeholders: Young novice drivers and their parents/guardians; adult novices; government transportation, licensing, education, and health agencies; other drivers; private motorist and safety organizations; publishers; authorities in private and public high schools and managers of commercial driver training schools; insurance, automotive, and other industries.

Perception and decision skills contribute to safety. Improved skill is not enough - what drivers can do and what they choose to do may differ. Motivation and responsibility influences should have highest priority. Individual motivation and social responsibility are educable qualities. The target audience is not uniform in skills, underlying abilities, or motivations. Market demand and pressure for safety effectiveness will increase. New DE will begin in a variety of environments including poorly capitalized, low-tech environments. DE hardware and software should be highly developed, packaged, and automated. The DE industry, school authorities, insurers, governments, families, and communities care sufficiently about safety outcomes to undertake organizational change and coordinate effort. New DE will be modular for multi-stage programs and local variability. New DE will be explicitly developmental, adaptive, and experimental.

The traditional objectives structure used in scholastic curriculum development is Bloom's taxonomy, which has been in use since the 1950s (Bloom, 1961). Bloom's basic structure of psychomotor, cognitive, and affective objectives was used in part for the OECD's Guidelines for Driver Instruction (1981), a document whose purpose was similar to that of the present project. The OECD Guideline shows the logical problems of Bloom's taxonomy for the driving task.

For instance, real-time, on-road cognitive functions, such as attention switching and decision making, are addressed as psychomotor objectives, while the identified cognitive objectives are limited to off-line types of factual knowledge items. It does have the advantage of breaking each of the three basic structures into separate useful and thought-provoking components. Bloom's taxonomy also features motivational, "affective" objectives (Krathwohl, Bloom and Masia, 1964). Human factors models of skilled performance, such as Welford's (1968) time-honored one, typically do not stress motivation, which is critical for safe driver performance. A process based on Bloom's breakdown was used to identify and clarify motivational objectives for inclusion in the objectives structure, supplemented by other models (e.g., Dick & Carey, 1985; Gagne, Briggs & Wagner, 1988; Gronlund, 1985; Geller, 1991; Reiser & Gagne, 1983; Robinson, Ross & White, 1985; Wilde, 1994b).

The driving task is sufficiently different from the subjects of scholastic curriculum development that it seems to require a unique objectives structure. As shown in Figure 3.1, below, instead of the cognitive, affective, psychomotor division, we are conceptualizing the field as a triangle with in-car performance at one corner and affective/emotional/social factors at the second corner. At the third are knowledge and skills, including those that may not be used directly in the driving tasks but may influence task performance or influence the affective, motivational processes. These divisions represent: 1) what the driver is capable of doing; 2) what the driver is motivated to try to do; and 3) what the driver actually does.

Drivers' motivations are more important, more complicated, and much harder to influence than was appreciated earlier. For DE to achieve motivational objectives requires a much more carefully targeted and comprehensive approach, both to identification of specific objectives and to selection of educational methods.

There are likely as many ways to structure the objectives as there are models of the driver, driving tasks, errors and failures, specific difficulties of novice drivers, and the underlying causal influences for all of the above. Most previous curriculum developments seem to have been based on very simple information-processing models. In contrast, the seminal Safe Performance Curriculum (Ray et al., 1980; Stock et al., 1983) was based on an extensive conceptual task analysis (McKnight et al., 197 1), with many hundreds of task components identified and rated as to criticality. A number of curricula have been revised and improved incrementally over the years, seemingly with an eclectic theoretical basis, if any.

Educable Qualities and Topics

Under each Educable Quality there are listed a number of Topics relevant to that Quality. In subsection 3.3 below, the Topics are further broken down into Perfonnance Objectives.

1.1 Risk Tolerance 1.2 Emotion 1.3 Intrinsic Motivators 1.4 Resisting Negative Learning
2.1 Becoming a Driver 2.2 Human Factors in Driving 2.3 Physics of Driving
3.1 Alertness 3.2 Dividing Attention 3.3 Switching Attention
4.1 Visual Scanning 4.2 Detecting Path Deviation
5.1 Seeing With Understanding 5.2 Potential Hazard Recognition
6.1 Risk Assessment 6.2 Other Users' Expectations 6.3 Attribution Bias
7.1 Option Matching 7.2 Response Selection 7.3 Risk Acceptance 7.4 Retry/Abort
8.1 Acceleration and Speed Control 8.2 Controlling Deceleration 8.3 Steering 8.4 Skill Integration 8.5 Error Correction
9.1 Speed Choice 9.2 Separation 9.3 Early Response 9.4 Contexts and Conditions
10.1 Self Monitoring 10.2 Internal Conditions 10.3 Conflict Avoidance 10.4 Seatbelts and Child Seats 10.5 Active Caring 10.6 Communication 10.7 Energy and Environment

Topic 1.2 Emotion

1.2.1 Demonstrate control over emotional reactions to other road users

To learn to gain control over emotional reactions while driving, novices will require both insight and practice. Novices should be able to list emotions and their potential effects on driving decisions, restate the relation between frustration and aggression, and describe other sources of emotional provocation.

Novices should be able to describe strategies for dealing with emotion and to express the value of personal autonomy and control. They should relate emotion in driving to other decision situations, such as games or sports, where "professional" control of emotions is essential for success and is highly valued. They should be able to role-play emotional control under provocation.

1.4 Resisting Negative Learning

1.4.1 Resist negative media and commercial pressures

Resisting adverse commercial pressures and models requires rational consumer skills. Novices need understanding of the economic and other interests of the major stakeholders in highway transportation and how these interests may differ from the longterm interests of the individual driver. They should be able to express realistic skepticism of advertising and entertainment media use of unsafe driving imagery.

1.4.2 Resist negative informal pressures

Novices should understand negative peer influences and the ways the roadway system forgives and reinforces poor driving, such as overdriving headlights at night. Nearly every driver tends to drive too fast at night, choosing speeds that do not permit stopping within the distance that they can see with their headlights. This only rarely leads to a crash, so the behavior is reinforced.

Novices should express confidence in their ability (self-efficacy) to resist cultural pressures that are inimical to their own interests, such as negative peer influences and poor role models. Again they must value their personal autonomy. To build resistance requires detailed knowledge and practice of specific response skills to resist negative peer influences.

Topic 2.1 Becoming a Driver

2.1.1 Recognize how novices differ from experienced drivers

Novice drivers should understand the course of their own learning and that of their peers, as well as the special problems and risks that they face. They should be sensitive to their own progress and apply self-tests to determine proficiency and weaknesses. They should have insight into the impact of an unskilled driver on other highway users.

2.1.2 Describe basic driving tasks

Novices should be able to outline a simplified driver model. They need this in order to understand the diverse tasks involved, the wide variability of drivers' performance, and the importance of impairments.

2.1.3 Internalize reasons for regulation of driving behavior

Driver education students need to have a detailed grasp of the rules of the road, signs, signals, and roadway markings. If these have been learned previously, they should be reviewed for mastery. Students should be able to describe the rationale for regulation of driving behavior on the public roads in general and specific reasons for key regulations, such as those regarding speed, impairment, occupant restraints, and licensing requirements.

Topic 2.2 Human Factors

2.2.1 Recognize range of individual differences/limitations in drivers

In order to maintain realistic expectations of others, novices should come to understand the wide range of variation in abilities underlying driving performance among individuals. They should be able to restate reasons for variation in perception/reaction times, and to analyze how the highway system accommodates variation in human capacities. They should be able to discuss sources of error in basic driving tasks. They should have expectations that other road users will occasionally behave unpredictably.

2.2.2 Summarize individual needs

Novices need to be able to articulate personal motivations to drive, describe the attitudes of society towards cars and driving, and analyze social roles affected by vehicles. They should be able to describe how motives can change in different situations and over different stages of life.

2.2.3 Appraise consequences of violating other drivers' expectations

Expectancy is a key human factor in highway system operation, and novices are at special risk of violating the reasonable expectancies of others, either through deliberate actions or inadvertently. Novices should be able to analyze road users' expectancies and outline the likely manner and consequences of violating them.

2.2.4 Contrast impaired and unimpaired performance

Impairment is one of the key factors in crashes, and solid, detailed knowledge is important to help novices personalize the potential effects and resist negative pressures, particularly with respect to DWI and fatigue. They should be able to classify sources of impairment, describe the influences of alcohol, fatigue, drugs, and illness, and integrate the effects with their knowledge of driving task requirements. The full range of consequences should be recognized and restated.

2.2.5 Define traffic and highway engineering

Expectancy is a key issue in the human factors of highway operations, and novices should develop realistic expectations about the assistance they will receive from the roadway and should be able to identify potential design/maintenance errors. They should also recognize the reverse, that the system in effect has expectations and assumptions about a wide range of drivers performances, from speed choice to noticing signs, and there are potentially serious consequences to violating system design assumptions. They should be able to restate meaning of design speed, perception-reaction-braking distance, sight lines and distances, and identify key differences and implications for driver performance among highway types.

2.2.6 Recognize needs of cyclists/pedestrians

Novice drivers should be able to analyze traffic interactions from the viewpoint of other classes of road users, recognizing the dynamics of their movements and limitations of visibility and mobility. They should express consideration for more vulnerable road users, and discuss their own previous errors as cyclists and pedestrians.

3. Attention

Attention is meant to include alertness, arousal, and vigilance, essentially "internal" predispositions to respond to the environment. Attention drives the searching, scanning, and noticing that the driver does. It is assumed that attention is both automatic and controllable by deliberate action of the driver, and that the quality of this control can improve through experience. (One might say to oneself while driving up MI 15 in Michigan, "This is an area of high deer-population, so I should pay special attention to movement in the forest edges on either side").

Critical factors in control of attention are dividing it over the many driving tasks and switching the allocation of attention. Attention must be distributed among different spatial areas (e.g., ahead vs. behind) and different categories of objects or information (e.g., objects in the road vs. instruments) (Allport, 1992). Critical errors can result from failure of any of the attention. Control of attention is related to collision experience (Arthur, 1994), and there is evidence that it is trainable (Gopher, 1992), as well as being improved and eventually automated by experience (e.g., Shiffrin and Schneider, 1977).

It is possible to be "paying attention" and still miss important information in the environment, because of scanning or other detection or perception failures. Our model assumes that attention is necessary, but not sufficient, for the detection of visual targets and other information input.

Topic 3.1 Alertness

3.1.1 Recognize effects of impaired states on alertness

Alertness is fundamental to attention, and novices should understand the range of possible levels of alertness and be able to identify the internal states and external factors that can effect it. They should be able to assess and recognize symptoms of fatigue, preoccupation, and substance effects. They should be able to criticize folk remedies for drivers' alertness problems and identify valid measures for avoiding fatigue effects.

Topic 3.2 Dividing Attention

3.2.1 Self-monitor division of attention over task components

Routine driving requires dividing attention over a number of continuous, simultaneous tasks, such as steering, throttle control, and scanning. The optimal strategy for weighting the ongoing distribution over the separate tasks varies considerably in different conditions. As skill in basic tasks, such as lane tracking, increases, the demand of these tasks for attention declines. The gradual shifting of the distribution of attention is an important part of learning to drive. Novices should be able to perform basic control and guidance tasks while performing other simple secondary tasks.

Topic 3.3 Switching Attention

3.3.1 Model switching rate

The main focus of attention must switch rapidly in routine driving and especially as external situations change. Too much attention to one task or problem (attentional capture) may be as serious a problem as not enough. Novices must learn to switch attention among navigation, guidance, and control tasks as well as monitoring instruments and other ongoing tasks, plus many incidental activities over the full range of driving conditions. Distractors of various types can capture an inappropriate amount of attention, and novices must learn to monitor and deal with distractors. They should be able to list classes of distractors and identify reasons for their varying effects on different people and in different conditions.

It is important to recognize the need for frequent switching and the benefits of an approximately two-second switching rate. Novices should be able to maintain switching, monitor their own performance, and recognize situations that impede proper switching. They should develop strategies for avoiding attention capture or attention "tunnel effects."

4. Detection

Detection includes the driver's searching, scanning, and noticing potential hazards. Errors can occur in which an attentive driver fails to detect, or detects too late, a potential hazard. Even when scanning correctly, it is possible to "look but fail to see," and this is a frequent reported occurrence in crashes. While little is known about why this happens, it is clear that the visual system has distinct limits as to how much information it can take in (e.g., Moray, 1990). At the basic sensory level of the visual system, the eye must fixate on a target to view it clearly. Unfamiliar and unexpected objects are less likely to be detected. It may be that a sort of "prerecognition" is necessary for an object to be reliably detected, and to the less experienced driver, many more things are less familiar and therefore unexpected.

The model suggests that attention and detection interact, since the drivers mainly detect what they are watching for, either in terms of spatial distribution or category of potential target. What is detected may in turn affect attention, alerting it or altering its distribution in space or over categories of potential targets. The issues of where the filtering processes of attention take place (blocking potential stimuli that are not attended to) are still not resolved in basic research (see e.g., Allport, 1992). While not wishing to try to resolve those issues here, we could theorize that somewhere in this area is the source of drivers' "looked but didn't see" errors. It could also mediate novice drivers' slow reaction to potential hazards (e.g., Fuller, 1990; Rumar, 1990). Novices may not yet have developed effective attentional distribution and scanning, and perhaps may be missing memory templates for visual targets that should be fixated. (Attending to their peripheral vision, the driver might say, "I should look at that blurry moving object off to the left. It could be something that will move into the road, like a deer").

Night driving and its special visual requirements are a particular problem. Even if scanning properly drivers cannot detect a potential hazard if it is out of range of their headlights. It is clear that even many experienced drivers do not recognize the visual limitations of driving with headlight illumination only (e.g., Leibowitz and Owens, 1986), and this needs to be clearly illustrated and linked to an appropriate feeling of discomfort at "driving blind."

Once a visual target is detected, the model shows it as passing to perception where it is recognized or identified.

6.1.4 Personal limits in risk assessment

It is important for novice drivers to personalize their limits, particularly in evaluation of risk. Knowledge of general age/experience effects and possible reasons for them will not automatically lead to recognition that it applies to an individual personally. Insight is needed into reasons why young drivers develop overconfidence.

Novices should demonstrate ability to provide running risk commentary and accept feedback showing the limits of their risk assessment to enhance their ability for self-appraisal and selfmonitoring. They should be able to identify personal causes and effects of underestimating of hazards and overestimating their own ability.

Topic 6.2 Others Road Users' Expectations and Perspectives

6.2.1 Consider others' point of view

A mature driver needs to be able to evaluate situations from the position of other road users. To predict the likely actions of others, drivers have to consider roughly what others can see from their positions, and what they are trying to do.

Especially important for novices is the ability to evaluate the expectancies of others. Many decisions depend on whether the chosen behavior will cause conflicts by violating the expectations of other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Unusual speeds or maneuvers that might not cause problems on an empty road can cause crashes when other users are present. Novice drivers must develop an understanding of other users' perspectives on their own behavior and recognize the value of predictability. They should fully appreciate what others expect from them.

Topic 6.3 Attribution Bias

6.3.1 Recognize situational contributions to drivers' errors

Both emotional reactions and situation evaluations depend to some extent on what motives and reasons one attributes to the actions of other road users. Novice drivers should understand attribution biases and show insight into negative emotional effects resulting from bias. They should recognize the effects of distractions, emotions, and conditions on their own errors and the errors of others for which they might be required to take some corrective action.

Topic 10.1 Self-monitoring

10.1.1 Monitor the impact of own driving behavior on other road users

To commit to self-monitoring, novice drivers should be able to differentiate between assertive and aggressive driving and explain cues for evaluating performance. They should understand effects of impaired states on self-monitoring. They should practice verbal self-feedback and carry out checklist/feedback exercises with their parent/guardian.

Topic 10.2 Internal Conditions

10.2.1 Commit to driving unimpaired

To commit to avoiding impaired driving, novices should be carrying out impaired driving avoidance plans that they have developed themselves. They should be able to explain values concerning driving impaired, discuss alternative methods of avoiding impaired driving, and contract to take responsibility for their own and their peers' well-being.

Topic 10.3 Conflict Avoidance

10.3.1 Commit to respecting others' safety margins

Driving conflicts result when safety margins are compromised. Novices should recognize the importance of predictability and expectation in interacting with other road users.

10.3.2 Commit to conflict/crash avoidance regardless of fault

Novices should internalize the certainty that other drivers will not always do what they should. They must understand the frequency of drivers' errors and recognize the mutual responsibility to help correct errors. They should be committed to avoiding conflicts and crashes regardless of other road users' errors and "fault."

Topic 10.4 Seat Belts and Child Safety Seats

10.4.1 Commit to promotion and leadership in restraint use

Despite improvements in passive restraints, use of active seatbelts and child safety seats will remain critical to safety. Novices should be able to summarize biomechanical benefits and limitations of active and passive occupant protection. They should influence friends to use safety restraints.

Topic 10.5 Active Caring

10.5.1 Adopt active commitment to community safety

Novice drivers themselves can become a force for safety improvement, and they will benefit in safer behavior themselves as well as growth in self-esteem and numerous skills in the process. Peer teaching and participative education are powerful, two-way influences. Novices should discover the national and community cost of crashes and the potential personal, social, and economic impacts on themselves and their friends.

10.5.2 Accept need to be a leader to improve health and safety

Novice drivers should be given opportunities and resources to organize opportunities to provide safety leadership. They should be able to discuss with peers the need to change the world and be a leader. They should volunteer time to youth/community organizations and identify ways to support community safety programs.

10.5.3 Commit to positive role modeling

Novices need to develop confidence and express self-efficacy for making a positive contribution to responsible driving. They should recognize "error contagion" and considerate driving, and value providing a positive model for others.

Topic 10.6 Communication

10.6.1 Commit to positive and helpful communication

Novice drivers should understand the nature and impacts of positive and negative communication among road users.

10.6.2 Show readiness to use direction signals and warning flashers

Novices should be able to describe appropriate uses of signals and reasons for use. They should demonstrate direction signal use at every appropriate opportunity. They should be able to explain reasons for always signaling and relate them to expectations.

Topic 10.7 Energy and Environmental Conservation

10.7.1 Use less fuel per driver and per unit distance

Novice drivers should recognize long-term transportation energy conservation needs and value conservation. They should demonstrate fuel-efficient driving skills.

10.7.2 Commit to minimize environmental costs of driving

Irresponsible vehicle use and maintenance can extract a high environmental cost. Novices should value respect for equipment and facilities, and be able to outline life cycle costs of vehicles and parts and environmental costs of vehicle use.

Achieving DE's safety goals will be the result of the application of curriculum resources delivered through a substantial educational and influence infrastructure. The curriculum resources and other influences need to be driven by the objectives and organized according to the objectives structure (Robinson et al., 1985).

The ideal medium for such material is a computer-based, interactive, high-resolution graphic system. Such a medium could be CD-ROM, interactive video disc (IVD), one of several competing computer gaming systems, or even a state-of-the-art computer graphics system. The good news is that the early stages of developing such a program do not require a commitment to any single one of these systems. In fact, a systematic approach can produce a validated driver training program without risking a commitment to a single technology.

This comes from the need to approach all computer-based training in the same way:

(1) Identify the tasks for which the training is to be developed.

(2) Finalize the precise description of the criterion behavior.

(3) Develop a storyboard for the entire training, including all branching options.

(4) Develop a script.

(5) Produce a video containing all the elements prescribed above (this production also has several steps). The resulting videotape contains not only all the visual elements of the training package, but the instructional ones as well.

(6) Validate the training (have students take the training to discover video, process, and instructional errors). The validated instructional video tape can serve as a stand-alone package (with accompanying documentation). It can also serve as the video for whatever media are selected for final product development.

The most comprehensive theory or model of individual behavior change with a specific road safety application is Geller's Intervention Impact Model (Geller et al., 1990; Geller and Ludwig, 1990). This model analyzes the motivational strengths of behavioral interventions, including but not limited to educational interventions. This model can provide a checklist for the curriculum developer trying to estimate the behavioral impact of curriculum units, particularly those with a motivational component. Behavioral influences and Geller's model are discussed further in Section 6. Geller's research and the resulting model support the strengths of methods that involve high levels of involvement, social support, and information, as well as providing incentives or disincentives. Given the importance of motivation in the safety outcomes of novice drivers, it is crucial to consider the motivational impacts of the educational experiences provided to DE students.

Driver education needs its own model, because it really has to be stronger in its impact than other school subjects in order to fulfil its extraordinary missions. To achieve this strength it will have to borrow from the relevant strengths of diverse educational and other influence approaches.

Again, need for integration of motivational issues with DE was recognized 25 years ago by Bishop and his colleagues, who wrote,

... a value results from activation of both cognitive and affective domains, the linking of thought and knowledge with feelings and emotions. Teachers sometimes talk about changing attitudes and values as though the process occurred in a vacuum apart from any subject matter. Valuing goes along with content. The value must be toward something, and, to understand something so that a value can be placed on it, the person uses his intellectual abilities to evaluate information about the object, person or situation. In short, value issues act as coordinating concepts for most subject matter and provide a kind of substructure in the curriculum (ASF, 1970 p.148).

To reach the higher levels of the affective domain in teaching, students must be shown how to organize their own value systems and then integrate new responses. Further, they must have the opportunity to practice the use of these values until they become characteristic behavior. This motivationally oriented DE will require a departure from traditional DE lecture/text methods in some areas. In particular it could alter how teachers spend their time in the classroom, becoming more of a process facilitator and less a channel for routine factual information.

For the higher level affective objectives, group discussions and other group work will be a necessary component and should be facilitated by a teacher with life-skills or social-skills coaching abilities. For students to have a chance to integrate a newly acquired value, for instance, disregarding peer pressure to drive after drinking, they must first understand how their value system currently stands with regard to peer pressure. Then they would need to re-structure the current system with this new value in place. They would plan how to bring this into their behavioral repertoires so that they could form a habit, and eventually, a characteristic (Krathwohl et al., 1964; Robinson et al., 1985). This type of teaching might be done by a separate instructor, or by DE teachers with training in this area. Positively valued (by the target age group), wellknown role models would be a definite asset for the video and audio portions of the values curriculum (Glover & Bruning, 1987; Rathus, 1988).

Peer trainers and coaches should be used wherever possible (Bell et al., 1991). Creative techniques, such as the use of group challenges, or creating a new standard of what is "cool" would have better results issuing from a peel In addition to having potentially better influence, peers provide a logistical benefit as well. An OECD report (1986) on safety education in general suggested that acceptance by teachers and other potential delivery agents is so difficult in many cases, particularly in secondary schools, that it would be better to train special 6 4 mediators" or approach targets directly through broadcast media, closed TV networks, etc. This may be less true of driver education than of safety education generally, but maximizing use of peers should be pursued strenuously. This is both because it can maximize the effect of limited teacher resources and because it is likely to be highly effective.


A large majority of the driving practice will be done with a parent/guardian rather than a DE teacher. Parent training must be encouraged in order that parents understand and maintain value-based behavioral expectations for their protegees. If the student has learned to value meeting other drivers ' expectations by signaling lane changes, the parents must not discourage this based on their own values. They may also need remediation in the area of role modeling. Since risk assessment and decisions will differ for experienced drivers, all parties must be aware of the complications of social learning in this setting. For example, if parents make a decision to overtake based on assessment of risk factors, students must realize that they would not necessarily make the same decision in that context since they are less experienced at judging distance and acceleration. At least one major parent-education package is under preparation at this time, and this will remain an important area of development.

Since there is a lag between learning a value and behaving according to it (Hoffman, 1979), education in some of the values areas and in the critical thinking necessary to it could begin at age 13 (after most have reached formal operational cognitive stage) (Kohlberg, 1981). Since this tends to be an age of high rebelliousness (Rathus, 1988), peer-trainers or novice drivers could be more effective than adults. This would also provide another strong opportunity for "intervention/agent" experience for the trainers and peer organizers. If interactive DE media become readily available, as consumer products, early teens may be interested and find access to them, adding to the knowledge base they will bring to DE when they reach the appropriate age.

Moral reasoning will be at varying levels in the target age group with most at the conventional level, that is, decisions based on the need for approval and to maintain social order. Remediation and individualized programs may be necessary for those in the preconventional stage (decisions based on expectations of punishment or reward (Kohlberg, 19 8 1; Kohlberg & Candee, 1989).

Extending and Maintaining Behavior

Educational strategies for extending and maintaining responsible driving include teaching students the principles of monitoring and modifying their own behavior, and by building into the course appropriate schedules and types of reinforcement to model these methods. For example, since rewards for signaling lane changes are rare, the student must be taught to find a source of internal reward, perhaps self-talk, that can be used to maintain the behavior. Relapse prevention models give us techniques such as identifying high risk contexts, problem-solving for these situations, practicing responses, and coping strategies for slip-ups (Sulzer-Azaroff, 1994, 1991). The practice phases will again require life-skills coaches to assist students in mastering techniques for dealing with risks.

In a broader perspective, "challenge statistics" could be kept for the cohort to compare themselves to another cohort, group, or community. Reward/ recognition systems could be set up (by and for the cohort) for months, then years of safe driving. This could be linked to or replaced with group incentives offered by insurers.

Methods for specific performance objectives

For the design of instructional units, it is necessary to select from among a broad range of methods. Certain methods are more appropriate for some objectives. In order to provide guidance for curriculum developers, recommended approaches are identified to address each performance objective. These recommendations are listed in Appendix I in the format of the objectives outline.

Similarly, the broadly applicable psychological aspects of driving include attitudes towards driving, alcohol use, other drivers, car ownership, risk taking, power and control, maturation, frustration, aggression, self-esteem, social conscience, prejudice, behavioral influences, human engineering, self-management/autonomy, and environmental responsibility. These could be discussed in health and safety or possibly language arts instruction. Issues related to driving responsibly can, and probably must, be linked to wider issues in values, ethics, pro-social, leadership and community service education. Learning in one area is likely to have effects on another (e.g., Batchelder and Root, 1994).

In Europe, driver education tends to be integrated into a broader health and safety awareness curriculum. Writing about French language instruction, one teacher maintains that "such topics as automobile nomenclature, driving regulations, and learning how to drive, when taught in a foreign language, can be used to present vocabulary, grammar, and comparative cultures" (Berwald, 1980 p.205).


5.1 Coordinating Community Influences

The best of driver education can clearly improve skills and knowledge. To improve how drivers actually choose to perform, as opposed to what they are able to do, will require behavioral influences beyond the narrow confines of driver education as it has been traditionally conceived. There are important and numerous opportunities for coordination with other influence resources, ranging from community and workplace health promotion programs and insurance incentives to selective enforcement programs and teen peer organizations.

Coordinated non-instructional influences may well be essential to achieve a sustained safety improvement in novice drivers. It may, of course, not be realistic or necessary to have every possible influence operating in a community to have a positive effect. However, DE should make use of the best available local resources. Resources and expertise to support coordinated influence programs could be provided through a variety of local, state and national organizations such as:

Public health authorities Auto clubs Insurers Trade associations Healthy Communities programs Workplace health and safety organizations Association of Occupational Nurses Association for Health Promotion Aides Youth organizations Wellness Council of America

A coordinated community-based approach, often found in health promotion programs, is worth consideration in seeking out influence resources for reinforcing driver education. Quite some time ago, Green pointed out the need from a public health perspective, writing:

The question is not whether the schools should educate, but rather how to supplement the classroom experiences with the appropriate services and safeguards in the community to reinforce and support the positive effects of the education and offset some of the inevitable negative effects. For driver education, the community must coordinate the timing and enforcement of education services and legal restrictions ... the community has no choice but to educate its young citizens in matters critical to their survival and development as responsibleand competent participants in society (1980 p.626).

It is noteworthy that NHTSA has sponsored a number of efforts to focus attention on younger drivers. A Forum on Youth Traffic Safety Initiatives was held in 1989 which published recommendations organized according to the Agency's "Youth Traffic Safety Model." This model outlines nine program areas for reducing traffic fatalities in a community: school-based, enforcement, extracurricular, licensing, community-based, adjudication, work-based, supervision, and legislation.

The potential linkages with community and workplace health promotion programs are best understood by viewing driver safety, of which driver education is a principal component, as a health and safety concern. In this context, efforts should be made to promote driver education and support the motivation, evaluation, decision, and responsibility objectives (identified in Section 3) within the broader school and social community of each novice driver.

For example, in discussion with experts in the alcohol and drug abuse field, the following options have been identified:

Look for linkages in the area of violence prevention and policing of "aggressive drivers." Use connections between driving safety and substance abuse; similar concepts are used, e.g., health hazards, risk perception, negative consequences, positive rewards for appropriate behavior, payoffs, parental involvement, self mastery, refusal skills, peer group influences. A recommended peer influence approach involves assisting novice drivers in the identification of strategies that make them less susceptible to "negative" pressures. Provide norms/ values that are both acceptable to the individual and comfortable to use in interaction with peers. Provide simple, easily remembered and used behavioral "tips" that directly assist the novice driver to select the right response when faced with making difficult decisions. These will help build self-efficacy towards adopting safe behaviors. Identify and provide opportunities to practice options, different ways to behave, and choices whose consequences or outcomes can be assessed ahead of decision-making. Involve parents and families as much as possible; provide tips for parents such as how important it is to be good role models; and send home materials for other members of the family. Use the workplace as a venue for influence through existing employee services such as occupational health services and providers, lunch hour series, parenting, stress management and other employee health promotion seminars, alcohol awareness, and other annual health events. Many of these are directed to the employees and their families, and could address novice drivers in the families. (Caution: providing information "handout" materials is likely to be well received, but integration of programs is more difficult.)

As happened in the anti-DWI movement, there is need for national/state/provincial focus that reinforces local efforts. While governmental support would be an obvious possibility, auto clubs and safety councils could also take a leadership role. The auto clubs' widespread local presence, broad-based membership, and interests in both the driver education and insurance industries might be an especially strong position from which to help coordinate beneficial safety influences for novice drivers, their parents or guardians, and their communities.

While Geller and Ludwig's model is quite comprehensive, the mechanisms of action are necessarily dealt with in a rather compressed fashion. For a fuller understanding and appreciation of behavior change, the curriculum developer should also took to the other theories, where certain potential behavior change mechanisms, though subsumed by the Intervention Impact Model, are spelled out in expanded detail and from viewpoints other than that of the behavior analyst. Lonero et al. (I 994) provided an overview of behavior change methods specifically related to road users' behavior.

James Malfetti (1993) has recently proposed a specific insurance incentive/disincentives for individual new drivers. He also reported a plan by an auto club to offer a somewhat different insurance incentive. This plan is more consistent with earlier incentive design suggestions by Wilde and Murdock (1982), Lonero and Wilde (1992), and Lonero et al.(1994), but it also is aimed only at individuals. Combined group and individual incentives give students some stake in what others do, and have been seen to be somewhat more effective in industrial settings. Wilde designed the so-called Saskatchewan Plan, to provide insurance rebate incentives to young Saskatchewan drivers, based on both individual and group performance in a local area. The plan was never implemented.

The opportunities for group participation, involvement, and information intensity of a renewed driver education, along with other community influences and, particularly, well-designed incentives, promises a powerful behavioral influence synergy. The motivation to be safe is individual, social, and cultural. This suggests that community education programs should be a part of a comprehensive behavior-change strategy for novice drivers, to provide immediate support for positive behavior change and to help establish more wholesome cultural norms.

The objective of advanced car handling training should be to use the concrete reality of carefully organized in-car experience to permit discovery and reinforcement of certain motivational, perceptual detection, and responsibility objectives:

better appreciate the normal proximity of the limits of control; recognize the driver's own limits, perhaps compared to experts; develop a "feel" for surface texture and friction differences; detect incipient skids: generate an aversive gut reaction to incipient loss of rolling traction; and strengthen commitment to wide safety margins.

Perhaps this would best be achieved without actually improving the skills for handling "over-the edge" situations or increasing the students' confidence in these advanced Motor skills. Even this modest training experience, however, may increase confidence, in knowing better where the edge of control is. It may also challenge some drivers to try to develop advanced skills on their own (now that we have clearly shown them that they do not have the skills of stunt drivers and other experts), and perhaps they will practice extending the boundaries of the envelope of control on the public roads.

Given the apparent potential for doing harm, the advanced car-handling approach should only be used where there is sufficient motivational influence to ensure that the skills developed are used to increase safety and not for other purposes. The potential for advanced handling skills is strong, but as with most powerful tools, it must be used properly to avoid harm.

Who could deliver multi-stage DE?

Multi-stage DE seems essential to take full advantage of the safety opportunities presented by graduated licensing, and to protect the long-term effects of these licensing systems. However, the practical problems presented by the multi-stage training are enormous. Even if not much longer in total time than current programs (in itself a tall order) these new programs would represent a major logistical complication. How this might be handled by an infrastructure that has been increasingly unable to deliver the much simpler existing courses is problematical. While it is widely hypothesized that extending the time of learning to drive should be helpful, it is not clear that multi-staging alone would make current DE content sufficiently more effective to meet safety requirements. More likely, a reorientation of content, methods, and coordinated influences would be required as well, complicating and raising the costs of implementation of any effective new program.

An extended, multi-stage or continuous-process DE would seem to be a possible fit in the schools, where, at least, the students are present over an extended period. It may, however, be that many students would graduate from high school before their graduated licensing periods had run their course, limiting their access to training over the whole period. Early school leavers would be left out nearly from the start, and to a greater extent than in the current system, where they might be able to complete a single stage course before leaving. A simple two-stage program, with short, conventional course modules, could be suited to delivery by some existing commercial driving schools. Because of limitations of space and other facilities, it is harder to see them delivering a more complex model, with very much self-paced learning, peer teaching, or group work.

Any moves toward multi-stage training likely require a broad and flexible partnership among government, schools, driving schools, communities, and families, as well as insurance and other businesses, with both top-down and community support leadership. However, similar organizational changes will be needed for more effective driver education, even without the graduated license linkage. Describe the attitudes of society towards cars and driving

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group discussion with peers

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to analyze societal impacts of vehicles Discuss personal motivations to drive

CONDITIONS: In group discussion with peers

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to analyze how motives will change over stages of life and how motives will change in different situations.

2.2.3 Appraise importance of expectancy in highway system operation Analyze road users' expectancies and consequences of violating other drivers' expectancies

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group discussion with peers

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to restate the importance of expectancy.

2.2.4 Contrast impaired and unimpaired performance Understand influences of alcohol, drugs, fatigue, and illness

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group discussion with peers

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to classify sources of impairment, identify consequences, and integrate understanding of impairments with knowledge of driving tasks.

2.2.5 Recognize assumptions made about drivers in highway design and operation Research human factors of traffic and highway engineering

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group discussion with peers

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to identify limits of highway engineering, possible design/maintenance errors, restate meaning of design speed, define perception-reaction-braking distance, define sight lines and distances, identify differences among highway types.

2.2.6 Recognize needs of cyclists/pedestrians Analyze traffic interactions from their viewpoint

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group work

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to calculate dynamics of their movements and identify the range of individual differences and limitations. Discuss personal errors as cyclist/pedestrian

CONDITIONS: In group discussion with peers

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to identify with and express consideration for more vulnerable road users.

3.2 Dividing Attention

3.2.1 Self-monitor division of attention over task components Practice divided attention performance

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study and games, part-task simulation, and driving

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to define division of attention, identify spatial and category distribution needs, identify effects of distractors, maintain performance on divided attention tasks, narrate and report self-monitoring of attention targets and weightings.

3.3 Switching Attention

3.3.1 Model effective switching Practice and feedback to maintain switching

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive

study, part-task simulation, and driving

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to define benefits of two- second switching rate, narrate switching, and identify situations that impede switching, causes of attentional tunnel, and strategies for avoiding attention capture.


4.1 Visual Scanning

4.1.1 Model mature scanning patterns under all conditions Practice fixating and reporting appropriate

targets on periphery and horizon

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and part-task simulation with throughwindshield and side-mirror display and a pointing capability

STANDARDS: Student must correctly prescribe the scanning pattern and also state frequency of the scanning performance. 80% of the targets must be detected when first presented, remaining 20% must be detected before entering hazardous zone.


6.1 Risk assessment

6.1.1 Recognize effects of age and experience on risk assessment Discuss reasons for novice drivers' under-and over-estimates of risk.

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group work and discussion

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to evaluate reasons for risk judgments and errors, interactions of inexperience with impaired states and emotions.

6.1.2 Model safe gap acceptance Estimate and verify time to impacts under various conditions

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group work

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to define safe gap acceptance, discuss effects of frustration on gap acceptance, estimate time to completion of maneuver in various conditions.

6.2 Others Road Users' Expectancy

6.2.1 Demonstrate consideration for others' expectancies Practice evaluating the expectancies of other road users

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, group discussion, and driving on road

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to restate the importance of expectancy in safe highway operations, and evaluate what all classes of other users expect from us in various high-risk conditions.

6.3 Attribution bias

6.3.1 Recognize situational contribution to drivers' errors Model generous understanding of other users' errors

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, group discussion, and driving on road

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to: restate effects of distractions, emotions, and conditions on other users performance; effects of self-serving bias; define attribution biases; and show insight into negative emotional reactions.


7.1 Option matching

7.1.1 Recognize choice among optional responses is usually possible Describe optional actions in response to situation evaluations

CONDITIONS: Given a series of both out of windshield and bird's eye view of scenarios with randomly presented situations requiring student driver decisions

STANDARDS: Demonstrate ability to identify all situations requiring decisions and describe the various options open to the driver for each situation; discuss effects of age and experience on access to options. Analyze risk situations and describe countermeasures to reduce those risks

CONDITIONS: Given a series of pictorial out-of-windshield views which will have random placement of hazards, potential hazards and dangerous situations

STANDARDS: All risks must be perceived while countermeasures can still be taken. Described countermeasures must fall with the range of acceptable actions in the judgment of the instructor.

7.2 Response selection

7.2.1 Select optimal response in time-limited and high-pressure situations Describes optimum driver response to a series of driving scenarios

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study given a visual display (videotape, videodisc, film, CD-ROM, or computer generated graphic of driving scenarios), and group discussion.

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to list options in various situations of differing criticality, discuss hazards of failing to take action in critical situations, discuss reasons why many crash-involved drivers do nothing. Narrate reasons for matching options to situations while under way

CONDITIONS: In driving on road with supervision and feedback

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to make 80% optimum responses and no responses which would result in an crash.

7.3 Risk Acceptance

7.3.1 Justify personal level of risk acceptance Discuss factors that influence individual's risk acceptance

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, and group discussion

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to rationally evaluate deliberate risky driving actions, discuss what you get for the risk you take. Recognize and narrate risks being accepted

CONDITIONS: In driving on road with supervision and feedback

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to relate actual on-road risks to target risk acceptance.

7.4 Retry/abort

7.4.1 Recognize the need to keep trying if first choice response fails Identify hierarchy of responses in various situations

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, group discussion, and driving on road

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to discuss reasons why first response may fail, to rehearse hierarchy of alternative responses under simulated pressure. Practice preventing and evading rear-end impact

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, group discussion, and driving on range or road

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to check rear for oncoming vehicles, discuss reasons for rear end collisions, perform evasive maneuvers.

8.2.3 Demonstrate optimal emergency braking control Assume proper seating position

CONDITIONS: In individual research, interactive study, group discussion, and driving on range or road.

STANDARD: Demonstrate ability to discuss relationship of position to braking, adjust optimal position in various vehicle configurations.


The following experts provided valuable insights and/or comments on driver education during this study. We wish to acknowledge and thank them for their contributions. The conclusions in this report are solely the responsibility of the authors and those who gave generously of their expertise and time should not be considered responsible for any shortcomings in the report.

Ms. Anita Bach Senior Researcher, Institute for Social Analysis

Mr. Walter Barta Alberta Motor Association

Mr. Gerald Basch Unit Manager, Community Safety Services AAA Michigan

Mr. Charles Butler Director, Driver Safety Services AAA Traffic Safety and Engineering Dept.

Ms. Vivienne Cameron Manager, Operational Policy Office Mr. Gerald Christenson Kansas State Board of Education

Mr. Peter Christianson President, Young Drivers of Canada

Ms. Linda Clifford Manager, Safety Research Office Ontario Ministry of Transportation

ML Peter Cooper Road Safety Planning Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Ms. Diane Cote Manager, Creative Services Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Mr. Owen Crabb Senior Staff Specialist, Division of Instruction Maryland State Department of Education

Mr. Maurice Dennis Safety Education Program Texas A&M University

Dr. Ray Engel Principal, Engel & Townsend

Mr. Craig Fisher Road & Track; Driving & Safety Consultant

Dr. Scott Geller Professor, Department of Psychology Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Mr. Jim Harries Insurance Bureau of Canada

Mr. John Harvey Regional Coordinator, Traffic Safety Education Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Washington State Department of Education

Mr. Gary Huett Senior Graphics Engineer Forensic Support Services

Dr. Barnie Jones Systems Research & Planning Section Oregon Department of Transportation

Mr. Dan Keegan President, PDE Publications

Dr. Francis Kenel Consultant, Representing the American Automobile Association

Mr. Terry Kline Texas A&M University

Dr. Gerald L. Ockert Consultant, Driver and Traffic Safety Education Michigan Department of Education

Ms. Sue MacNeil President, Road Safety Educators'Association

Mr. Gordon McGregor Saskatchewan Education, Training & Employment

Dr. James McKnight President and Director of Research National Public Services Research Institute

Mr. Rudi Mortimer Research Professor, Dept. of Health Studies University of Illinois

Mr. Aston Mutiisa Manager, Strategic Issues Office Safety Policy Branch Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Dr. Richard Pain Safety Coordinator, Transportation Research Board National Research Council

Mr. Ray Peck Chief of Research, R & D Section California Department of Motor Vehicles

Mrs. Mary Price Education Coordinator York Region Board of Education

Dr. Alan Robinson Executive Director, ADTSEA

Dr. Peter Rothe President, Institute for Qualitative Research and Evaluation

Dr. Friduiv Sagberg Research Psychologist, Institute of Transport Economics Norwegian Centre for Transport Research

Mr. Dave Secrist Safety Education Coordinator Pennsylvania Department of Education

Dr. Allison Smiley President, Human Factors North

Mr. Michael Smith Research Psychologist, Office of Program Development & Evaluation NHTSA, U.S. Department of Transportation

Mr. John Svensson President, TRIADD

Mr. Randy Thiel Consultant for Alcohol Traffic Safety Education Programs Wisconsin Department of Education

Dr. Pat Waller Director, UMTRI University of Michigan

Dr. Jean Wilson Director of Research & Evaluation, Motor Vehicle Branch British Columbia Ministry of Transportation & Highways

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