Learner Driver Trial
As part of its HELP youth stra tegy, the TAC developed a program designed to gauge the impact of personalised support for learner drivers on the extent and quality of their supervised driving practice. Designed as a two year, five-stage longitudinal study, the Learner Driver Trial (LDT) involved a sample of parents/supervisors of learner drivers being contacted via telephone every three to four months. At each telephone contact supervisors were surveyed about issues relevant to learning to drive, including the amount and types of practice received by their learner. The results from these surveys were compared with control groups not involved in the program.
Although initial results from the LDT have been reported previously, this is the first time an in depth analysis of the trial data has been undertaken. This analysis examined if the number of trips taken, average length of trip and number of driving conditions experienced by those involved in the LDT was greater than control learner drivers. Additional analyses were also conducted to examine the effects of the LDT on logbook use, total hours of driving experience prior to licensing and age of obtainment of a probationary licence.
The major finding of the study indicates that the LDT has a significant influence on the amount, type and variety of supervised practice learner drivers obtain within the first year of their learner permit tenure. However, towards the later stage of the trial there was generally no difference between the LDT drivers and the control group on measured variables. This suggests that the most significant LDT effect occurs immediately after obtaining a learner permit and helps learners sustain reasonable levels of practice throughout the learner period.