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Learner Driver Mentor Programs: Stakeholder perspectives on an ideal program

Bates, L, Buckley, L, Soole, D, Reveruzzi, B, Watson, B (Peer reviewed)

Motorcycles and Scooters

ARSC conference 2015

This study investigated best practice in the development and operation of Learner Driver Mentor Programs (LDMPs). LDMPs are used throughout Australia to assist young learner drivers to gain supervised on-road driving experience through coordinated access to vehicles and supervisors. There is a significant lack of research regarding these programs. In this study, 41 stakeholders including representatives from existing or ceased LDMPs as well as representatives of other groups completed a questionnaire in either survey or interview format. The questionnaire sought information about the objectives of LDMPs, any social problems that were targeted as well as the characteristics of an ideal program and what could be done to improve them. Stakeholders indicated that LDMPs were targeted at local communities and, therefore, there should be a clear local need for the program as well as community ownership and involvement in the program. Additionally, the program needed to be accessible and provide clear positive outcomes for mentees. The most common suggestion to improve LDMPs related to the provision of greater funding and sponsorship, particularly in relation to the vehicles used within the programs. LDMPs appear to have an important role in facilitating young learner drivers to acquire the appropriate number of supervised hours of driving practice. However, while a number of factors appear related to a successful program, the program must remain flexible and suitable for its local community. There is a clear need to complete evaluations of existing programs to ensure that future LDMPs and modifications to existing programs are evidence-based