Driver Skill Training Doesn’t Prevent Crashes Courses

By Ronak Shah

It might seem like an incredible and illogical statement, but it is true that, traditional “defensive” driver training does not prevent crashes.

“Self reported collisions were no different overall for the course participants than a control group, but drivers who participated in two or more courses had more collisions than those who only participated once. Those who reported that they felt the course had a positive effect also crashed more.”
Siegrist and Ramseier (1992) Evaluation of advanced driving courses

The evidence is scientific, overwhelming and unambiguous. Driver training as we know it does not produce safer drivers.

There is a significant body of evidence that suggests that driver training makes people think more optimistically about their personal chances of crashing. If a person believes that they will be better off than other drivers, they may put less effort into staying safe. This notion of “driver optimism” helps explain why some drivers actually crash more after training, or why other positive effects are negated.

“There has been a realisation that the driver’s exercise of choice and level of risk taking behaviour rather than physical skills, are of paramount importance in safe driving.”
Thomas Higgins (1994) NRMA

Next comes the professional driver.

“Racing drivers, young drivers and male drivers, the very groups with the highest levels of perceptual-motor skills and the greatest interest in driving, are the groups which have the higher than average crash involvement rates. This demonstrates that increased driving skill and knowledge are not the most important factors associated with avoiding traffic crashes. What is crucial is not how the driver can drive (driver performance) but how the driver does drive (driver behaviour).”

“The clear failure of the skill model underlines the need to consider motivational models that incorporate the self-paced nature of the driving task.”
Leonard Evans (1991) Traffic Safety & The Driver

Corporate Driver Training Australiaprogram is 100% directed at the altering behavior to change perception of risk.

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