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Effects of Defensive Vehicle Handling Training on Novice Driver Safety: A Case Study in Lewistown, Montana, Phase 1

Project #: 4W0171
Start Date: 10/01/2004
End Date: 09/30/2005
Status: Completed

New teen-aged drivers have the highest accident rates of any group of drivers, with most accidents occurring within two years of receiving their driver licenses. Research shows that drivers under the age of 19 have a crash rate that is four times that of the general population. Many accidents involving novice drivers are attributed to improper reactions to skids, panic stops, and driving off the pavement. While there is anecdotal evidence that training to handle a vehicle in these situations creates a more capable novice driver, only one systematic study of its effect on the safety of young drivers has been completed. This project, the first of three phases, involves developing a curriculum for a course to teach defensive vehicle handling to novice drivers. In subsequent phases, the one-day course will be offered to 200 teen-age drivers once they have been out of driver education for six months. The effect the course has on driver safety will be evaluated for a period of four years and then compared to driving records of 200 youth who did not complete the defensive driving course.


Planning and preparation for a longitudinal study to determine the effect of training for defensive vehicle handling on novice driver safety.


  • Laura Stanley
    Laura Stanley