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Implementing best practice principles in the delivery of a Learner Driver Mentor Program in rural Queensland: a case study report

Smythe, T, Sheehan, M (Peer reviewed)

Novice Driver Programs

ARSC conference 2015

Learner Driver Mentor Programs (LDMPs) assist disadvantaged learner drivers to gain supervised on-road driving experience by providing access to vehicles and volunteer mentors. This paper reports the results of a case study examining participant and mentor experience in a program delivered at a rural Queensland site. The study is based on an existing Best Practice model for LDMPs. In the absence of existing research investigating the implementation of best practice principles in LDMPs, this case study examines program operation in the context of a rural town setting. Results are based on triangulation of data from a mentor focus group (n = 7), interviews with program stakeholders (n = 9), and site-specific learner survey results (n - 30). Preliminary findings regarding benefits of the program to the participating learner drivers, mentors, and wider community are presented. Mentor training and performance monitoring, management of driving sessions and log books, vehicle maintenance, support of mentors and mentees, building and maintaining relationships with program stakeholders, and sharing of program knowledge are discussed. Key findings relate to the importance of community ownership and engagement with the program and collaborating across sectors to achieve a range of positive outcomes for learners, including road safety education and skills to stay safe on the road. The findings highlight the need for the program to be relevant and responsive to the requirements of the population and the context in which it is operating.