Transforming the practical driving test

Published: Nov 2018


ISBN: 978-1-910377-82-6

Author: Helman S, Wallbank C, Chowdhury S, Hammond J, Kinnear N, Buttress S, Jenkins R, Grayson G

Pages: 51

Reference: PPR828


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This study evaluated the impact of a proposed new practical driving test on learning to drive, test performance, and on post-test driving in GB. The new test was designed to promote a wider range of learning when learning to drive, and through this was designed to improve safety post-test. Learner drivers were recruited to the study through their driving instructors, and were pseudo-randomised to take either the existing test or the new test for licence acquisition. They then completed surveys when they passed their test, and again at six months post-test. The data also showed that being younger at test pass, and driving more, increased crash risk, confirming previous work in the area. No gender difference was apparent. Driving for work, and being on a telematics insurance policy were associated with large increases in collision risk. Across the whole sample of over 2,500 test passers, around one in eleven reported a collision of some kind in their first six months of driving. The new test was well-received by driving instructors, test passers, and those providing private supervised practice. In terms of post-test driving, the new test was not associated with any change in collision risk, even when compared with a national comparison sample to control for possible training bias in the main trial groups. Performance was not noticeably different between the two tests. The new test prompted some modest changes in the training people undertook when learning to drive, and new test passers did show higher confidence and more insight into their limitations at test pass.

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