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Examining novice education: What can we learn from a compulsory program delivered to both mature-aged and young pre-learner licence drivers?

Lennon, A, Bates, L (Peer reviewed)

Young Drivers

ARSC conference 2015

This paper reports results from a qualitative evaluation of a compulsory pre-Learner driver education program within the Australian Capital Territory(ACT), Australia. Two methods were used to obtain feedback from those involved in the delivery of the program as well as those who participated in programs. The first, semi-structured interviews, was undertaken with class room teachers who run the program in their schools, group facilitators running the program with more mature-age students at private facilities (n = 15 in total), and former participants in both school-based and private-based versions of the program (n = 19). The second method used an on-line survey for students (n = 79). Results from both methods were consistent with each other, indicating that strengths of the program were perceived as being its interactive components and the high level of engagement of the target audience. There was strong support from young and mature-age students for the program to remain compulsory. However, consistent with other findings on novice driver education, mature-age participants identified that the program was less relevant to them. It may be that to have greater relevance to mature-age learners, content could address and challenge perceptions about behaviours other than intentional high-risk behaviours (e.g. low level speeding, fatigue) as well as encourage planning/strategies to avoid them. While a longer term, outcome focussed, evaluation of the pre-learner education program is needed, this study suggests that the program is well received by pre-licence drivers and that teachers and facilitators perceive it as both effective and beneficial.