While there is a strong community perception that specialised driver training is an effective road safety countermeasure, there is currently no clear evidence that it produces safer drivers compared to less formalised approaches to learning. A number of factors have been suggested to account for this apparent lack of effectiveness. In particular, it has been suggested that conventional approaches to driver training do not systematically address the perceptual and cognitive skills required for safe driving, or the motivational or attitudinal factors which can exert a powerful influence on driver judgement and decision-making. Hence, it is possible that with further research and development that more effective driver training programs could be developed. With this prospect in mind, this paper identifies three main priorities for future research in the area.
It is important to note that the research priorities identified in this paper cannot be addressed in any one program of research. Rather, a philosophy of incremental improvement is required. While some important driver training research initiatives continue to occur in Australia, it is an area that receives limited funding. While this is perhaps not surprising, given the state of the evidence, there is a need to ensure that the research that does occur is well directed and coordinated, and communicated to practitioners. This is vital to bridge the gap that currently exists between research and practice in the area of driver training.