4.5 Driver Training
Overall Effectiveness Concerns: Driver training alone has not been shown to reduce overall crash rates. There is no evidence indicating that this countermeasure is effective. However, driving skill begins with knowledge education and then practicing defensive driving in relation to all other types of traffic, including pedestrians.
Pedestrian-safety-related driver training increases the sensitivity of drivers to the presence and characteristics of pedestrians and their role as drivers to enhance the safety of pedestrians. Current training for new drivers typically includes relatively little information on other road users. Information on pedestrians can be significantly strengthened. Specifications for driver education curricula, typically a State requirement, can be adjusted to include more specific information on the status of the pedestrian in the traffic environment, right-of-way requirements for drivers and pedestrians, other driver and pedestrian responsibilities, categories of pedestrian crash types, and key ways drivers can avoid being involved in such crashes. Standards for curriculum and training developed by the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association include some of these pedestrian-related learning objectives (Driver Education Working Group, 2009).
One way driver training can incorporate pedestrian and bicyclist concerns for new and existing drivers is through “Share the Road ” education concepts and programs, though many focus exclusively on bicycles. One of many such resources is the State of New York’s highly readable Sharing the Road Safely (www.safeny.ny.gov/media/share-road.htm). It should be noted that “Share the Road ” programs have not been accepted everywhere, and some States have discontinued these programs after implementing them.
Use: As noted, all driver education curricula include some information on other road users, but the kind of expanded information recommended here is sparse.
Effectiveness: Driver education alone has not been shown to reduce overall crash rates. The objective for adding more pedestrian information would be to increase knowledge and desire to share the road safely with pedestrians, of how to avoid the most common types of motor vehicle/pedestrian type crashes, and to improve drivers’ anticipation of, and interactions with, pedestrians – as well as improve their behavior as pedestrians.
Cost: Low. The cost would be for the development of the new segments of the standard curriculum and for getting it into the material used by driver education instructors and schools.
Time to implement: Material would need to be developed and integrated into the standard driver education curriculum, and adjustments made elsewhere in the curriculum to reflect likely additional time required for the new pedestrian material.
The same timeframe would be appropriate for making changes to official State driving manuals, license exams, and related material and procedures.