When in a country, mass motorization is accomplished, teens usually start to drive as soon as the legal system allows them to do so. What all countries with mass motorization have in common is an overrepresentation of teen drivers in car crashes. Countries differ widely in the moment mass motorization was realized. They also differ in culture, road infrastructure, traffic composition, licensing system, and overall traffic safety level. These differences between countries have an effect on countermeasures and on research programs regarding the young novice driver problem. An overview of differences in countermeasures and research programs of developed countries is needed.
Types of Countermeasures
At the highest level, countermeasures can be divided into measures that adapt the teen driver to the traffic and road system and measures that adapt the traffic and road system to the teen driver. In the first type of countermeasure, programs have been developed that try to enhance the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and motives that are essential for safe driving, most notably standard classroom and behind-the-wheel driver education programs. In the second type of countermeasure, task demands are reduced in such a way that they do not exceed the capabilities of the teen driver, such as a restriction on driving with peers. These measures are mostly measures that reduce exposure to potentially dangerous traffic situations.
There are studies about the types of crashes in which young novice drivers are overrepresented, studies about the causes of these crashes, and studies about development and evaluation of countermeasures to these crashes. These studies about the causes can be about biological aspects such as brain development, gender, and mental disorders (e.g., ADHD). They can on lifestyle and peer pressure, and they can he on factors that temporarily reduces one's driving capabilities, such as alcohol, illicit drugs, fatigue, distraction, and emotions. Problems with execution of the driving task such as visual search, hazard perception, and decision making can also be the subject of young novice driver studies. Finally, studies about the causes can be factors related to exposure such as driving at night, driving with passengers, driving in older cars, and driving with speeds that are too high for the circumstances. Studies can also be on the development and the evaluation of countermeasures.
When the young novice driver starts to arise in a country, the emphasis is on the improvement of basic driving skills on enforcement. Later on, the emphasis is on the improvement of so-called higher-order skills (hazard perception, risk awareness, risk acceptance, self-evaluation) and on the restriction of early driving to relatively safe circumstances so that teen drivers can gain experience in low-risk environments, restrictions such as those imposed by graduated driver licensing (GDL). In countries or other jurisdictions (e.g., states and provinces) with a low license age, the emphasis is on GDL and parental involvement. In countries with a late license age, the emphasis is on the improvement of higher-order skills and on postlicense driver education.