Novice driver crashes: The relation between putative causal factors, countermeasures, real world implementations, and policy – A case study in simple, scalable solutions

Fisher, D.L.; Agrawal, R.; Divekar, G.; Abdul Hamid, M.; Krishnan, A.; Mehranian, H.; Muttart, J.; Pradhan, A.; Roberts, S.; Romoser, M.; Samuel, S.; Vlakveld, W.; Yamani, Y.; Young, J.; Zafian, T.; Zhang, L.

Novice drivers are at a greatly inflated risk of crashing. This led in the 20th century to numerous attempts to develop training programs that could reduce their crash risk. Yet, none proved effective. Novice drivers were largely considered careless, not clueless. This article is a case study in the United States of how a better understanding of the causes of novice driver crashes led to training countermeasures targeting teen driving behaviors with known associations with crashes. These effects on behaviors were large enough and long-lasting enough to convince insurance companies to develop training programs that they offered around the country to teen drivers. The success of the training programs at reducing the frequency of behaviors linked to crashes also led to several large-scale evaluations of the effect of the training programs on actual crashes. A reduction in crashes was observed. The cumulative effect has now led to state driver licensing agencies considering as a matter of policy both to include items testing the behaviors linked to crashes on licensing exams and to require training on safety critical behaviors. The effort has been ongoing for over a quarter century and is continuing. The case study highlights the critical elements that made it possible to move from a paradigm shift in the understanding of crash causes to the development and evaluation of crash countermeasures, to the implementation of those crash countermeasures, and to subsequent policy changes at the state and federal level. Key among these elements is the development of simple, scalable solutions.

art. 107397
Published in
Accident Analysis & Prevention
198 (April 2024)

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