The United States and Canada are experiencing an increased young driver population after years of a decreased population due to the baby boom echo. Simultaneously, enrollment in Driver’s Education courses has declined. With our technological advancements as a society, we should be able to offer a high tech, more comprehensive training system for our young drivers.
Studies show that for effective and lasting crash prevention techniques to be taught both skill and motivational aspects must be addressed effectively. Therefore, educational training and behavioral change intervention is needed to produce a decrease in the amount of traffic crashes in young drivers. New drivers need to learn to handle a vehicle as well as interact with other road users. It takes several years for a driver to reach mature risk levels as the only way to reach this level is by gaining experience.
The linking of parents and community influences as well as personal involvement and incentives would likely have positive results. These results would likely be produced within each individual community through its own efforts. Interactive media could be used to enhance perceptual and decision skills. Studies show that video games can increase attentional capacity. Therefore, the integration of interactive gaming type activities could help improve these skills. Integrating this curriculum to areas of personal and social values, risk taking, self esteem, peer pressure, health protection etc. could foster an ingrained understanding of the subject matter. Pairing a deep understanding of the responsibility to other drivers with the skill needed to operate a vehicle safely is an optimal situation.
Driver’s Education definitely needs to be updated. It will benefit us as a society to have skilled, confident and prepared drivers on the road. Small advancements have been made. Many states are allowing a student to take an approved CD ROM based or online course. There is also a downloadable Drivers Ed PC Game. Prospective drivers can practice driving online and complete practice tests with this interactive game. However, the posted reviews of this game indicate that partakers found this game non-engaging and boring. This may not be a representative sample as people who enjoy the game may be too busy playing to fill out the review!
Offering an option of time in a driving simulator would be a great motivator to get new drivers to attend Driver’s Ed. Interactive computer software games [http://www.thesoftwarespot.com/default.asp?SID=x3MURYEYNJ4GU7XJE3XUKH&S=500&A=F&SearchText=&CategoryID=1695949&NID=7198939] that propose different situations and scores according to the drivers handling of the situation is a less expensive suggestion. Take into consideration the video gaming phenomenon and then show me a teenager that refuses to practice his video game! Video gaming can accomplish both the educational training and the behavioral change intervention.
Post baby boom echo has found an increased young driver population for the United States and Canada. This increase in new drivers is accompanied by a decline in enrollment in Driver’s Education courses. We should be able to offer a high tech, more comprehensive training system for our young drivers. Driving simulators and driving video games are two promising avenues for revamping Driver’s Education!