HOME-STUDY DRIVER EDUCATION
The completion certificates from these private secondary school-affiliated home- study driver education programs are required to be accepted by the California DMV as a result of a recent court ruling (Jackson v. Gourley, 2003). In addition, the curriculum of such programs is not regulated by the Department of Education due to recent changes to §51852 of the California Education Code (SB 2079, Burton, 2002).
Research on Home-Study Driver Education
Only one contemporary study was found that even mentioned home-study driver education for teens (Preusser, Ferguson, Williams, Leaf, & Farmer, 1998). That study recommended that graduated licensing systems “favor” home-study driver education and training and the subsequent importance it places on parental involvement in, and control of, their teen’s licensing.
The Safety Value of Driver Education and Training
There is evidence that formal training through driver education and driver training increase the knowledge and skill levels of teens (but not necessarily their safe- driving attitudes), even if these knowledge and skill gains do not translate into lower crash risk.
Although driver education and training are commonly considered to have safety value for reducing teen crash and violation rates, the preponderance of research both in California and throughout the world does not support this view. Traffic safety researchers concede that driver education and training, even when well designed and rigorous, have not been shown to reliably reduce the crash rates of young drivers.
Past reviewers have consistently concluded that formal training leads to earlier and increased licensure for young drivers, which tends to cause increases in crashes and violations that outweigh any potential safety benefits gained through improvements in knowledge and skill.
Ideas for Improving Driver Education and Training
In addition to proposing integrating driver education and training with graduated licensing programs, increasing the time that teens spend practicing on the road, and making driver education multi-staged with separate courses in the learner and provisional stages of licensing, some traffic safety researchers have recommended that driver education courses make use of emerging technology such as interactive, self-paced computer-based training.
Selection of Participating Driving Schools
Twenty provider schools were initially selected to participate in the study and 10