Dec 05, 2007


A random assignment study involving over 16,000 high school
students evaluated the effectiveness of the Safe Performance driver education
curriculum in preventing crashes and traffic violations. Driving outcomes
for students assigned to receive the Safe Performance curriculum were compared
with those for students assigned to receive a less involved curriculum and with
those for students assigned to a control group.

Students in both the Safe Performance group and the other
driver education group were more likely to obtain licenses than students in the
control group. Students in the Safe Performance group were also more
likely than students in the control group to get in a crash and to receive a
traffic violation.


Target population: new drivers

In the 1980s, the Safe Performance curriculum was considered
to be the nation’s most advanced and thorough driver education
program. The curriculum was developed by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration and included 32 hours of classroom instruction, 16 hours
of simulation instruction, 16 hours of driving range instruction, and 3 hours
of instruction on evasive maneuvers. The program also provided each
student with three hours of on-road, behind-the-wheel instruction during
daylight hours and 20 minutes of on-road, behind-the-wheel instruction at

The Pre-Driving Licensing curriculum provided students with
minimum training in skills required to pass a licensing test. The
curriculum included 20 hours of classroom, simulation, and driving range
instruction and only provided one hour of on-road, behind-the-wheel training.


Evaluated population:16,338 high school students
from DeKalb County, Georgia served as the study sample for this investigation.

Approach: Students who applied for driver education
in DeKalb County, Georgia between 1977 and 1980 were randomly assigned to one
of three groups – a Safe Performance group, a Pre-Driver Licensing group,
and a control group. Students assigned to the Safe Performance group
received the Safe Performance curriculum; students assigned to the Pre-Driver
Licensing group received the Pre-Driver Licensing curriculum; and students
assigned to the control group were expected to attain driver’s education
from their parents and/or a private driver training school.

Driver licensure, crash, and violation records were obtained
from the Georgia Department of Administrative services every six months.
Crash information was attained through December 1981 and violation information
was attained through November 1982.

Results: Licensure, crash, and violation records were
used to compute estimates of the relative likelihood of students becoming
licensed or having their first crash or receiving their first violation at each
month following their 16th birthday. Analyses were run to
determine whether these estimates differed as a function of driver education
group membership.

Students assigned to either of the driver education groups
were licensed significantly faster than students assigned to the control
group. Students assigned to the Safe Performance driver education group
were significantly more likely than control students to get in a crash or
receive a violation during any given month.



Lund, A. K., Williams, A. F., & Zador, P.
(1986). High School Driver Education: Further Evaluation of the DeKalb
County Study. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 18(4), 349-357.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Youth, High School, School-Based, Social Skills/Life Skills, Skills Training, Other Safety

Program information last updated on 12/5/07.