ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Just call me Thomas: Incredulity, evidence, and the hype surrounding insight-based training for novice drivers

Harrison, Warren A.

Novice Driver Programs


The Australian driver-training scene appears to have experienced a resurrection, with widespread belief in the value of an insight-based approach to driver training that stresses increasing self-awareness of one s limitations. The apparent resurrection of driver training as a road safety measure after a long, evidence-based decline in health owes much to theoretical developments in Europe, and especially in Sweden, and to some recent research studies conducted in Finland and Australia. This paper examines the nature of evidence supporting ongoing belief in insight-based approaches, and concludes that there is still no sound evidence to support the implementation of a driver training program based on insight principles. Swedish research has still largely failed to demonstrate real road safety benefits from an insight approach, and a close review of Finnish and Australian research raises significant doubts about drawing positive conclusions about the outcomes. Even current research studies in a number of jurisdictions in Europe will fail the simplest examination. A scientific approach to the driver training issue suggests that rumours of a resurrection may be somewhat overstated. The paper then goes on to discuss the type of valid evidence that would be needed to confirm that the driver training tomb is empty, and the likely problems associated with obtaining this type of evidence.