The "P drivers project": past, present and future directions
The overrepresentation of young novice drivers continues to be one of road safety’s most intractable problems. This has brought with it the challenge of developing innovative and effective programs, which can complement other countermeasures in youth road safety, notably, graduated licensing. The P Drivers Project is one of the largest, comprehensive and ambitious projects of its type. It represents the collaborative efforts of experts and stakeholders in adult education, behavioural change theory and application, and youth road safety, and covers not only the development and delivery of a behavioural change program but its evaluation also. The Program focuses on several target behaviours (speed choice, hazard perception, car following, gap selection), and the factors which may mediate those behaviours (e.g., driver distraction). The Program’s target audience is young drivers within the initial months of licensure, and includes two facilitated peer group discussions and an in-vehicle, on-road coaching session. Through shared experiences and self-reflection, the Program aims to raise awareness among young drivers of the risks associated with driving, and of their capabilities and limitations as drivers. To gauge Program effectiveness, data on infringements, self-reported crashes, the amount and type of driving, and driving behaviour are being collected at several points: pre-program, 1 and 12 months post-program. With the project due for completion in 2016, this paper provides an overview of, and timely update on, the project, and includes discussion of some of the key issues and future opportunities primarily from the perspective of the project’s Technical Working Group.