ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Evaluation of the effect of the wiser driver course on driving behaviour and road safety

Strain, Susie (Peer reviewed)



The Wiser Driver Course is an older drive education program designed to address road safety and mobility concerns that arise with the ageing process. The course is a weekly discussion based meeting over four weeks. There is no in-vehicle component. Throughout 2001 / 2002 an evaluation of the effect of the course on driver behaviour and road safety was carried out using a ?before and after? survey method, collecting data from 182 participants from 20 courses during that time. Change was measured by (i) comparing before and after survey data This material covered the following items - vehicle management, health and eyesight, road rules, driving frequency and purpose, alternative transport, accidents and infringements. After a three month interval, 63% of survey records showed change in one or more of these areas. (ii) self-assessment by participants 80% of participants reported, after three months, that they had altered driving practice and volunteered a range of changes.

Combining these two measures, raw survey data indicated that 91% of those surveyed responded to course material with at least one change to driving behaviour as measured in this study in the three month period following doing the course. Adjustments made to eliminate potential bias from the data set by allocating the unsurveyed course enrolment to the ?no change? category reduced the percentage changes to a minimum of 51%.

A suggested explanation is put forward for the positive response to the Wiser Drive Course:

  1. course attendants have enrolled to improve driving knowledge and skills and have a favourable orientation to course material;
  2. drivers attending these courses had had their licences for over forty years. During that time there have been significant changes in the driving environment yet few opportunities to upgrade knowledge;
  3. the format of the course which, from the many unbidden testimonials, clearly provides a satisfying learning environment.

The short time span and small sample did not allow sufficient exposure to risk factors to establish a safety impact of the course apart from some observations from anecdotal evidence. The research concludes that the Wiser Driver Course has the capacity to positively influence driving behaviour for the older age group.