OBJECTIVE: The research aimed to explore associations between participation in 2 education programs for school-based learner drivers and subsequent road traffic offenses and crashes among a large cohort of newly licensed drivers.
METHODS: DRIVE is a prospective cohort study of 20822 first-year drivers aged 17 to 24 in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Participants completed a detailed questionnaire and consented to data linkage in 2003–2004. Questionnaire items included year of participation in 2 specific education programs: a 1-day workshop-only program focusing on driving risks (“driver-focused”) and a whole-of-community program also including a 1-day workshop but also longer term follow-up activities and a broader focus on reducing risk-taking and building resilience (“resilience-focused”). Survey data were subsequently linked to police-reported crash and offense data for 1996–2005. Poisson regression models that adjusted for multiple confounders were created to explore offenses and crashes as a driver (dichotomized as 0 vs ≥1) after program participation.
RESULTS: Offenses did not differ between groups; however, whereas the driver-focused program was not associated with reduced crash risk, the resilience-focused program was associated with a 44% reduced relative risk for crash (0.56 [95% confidence interval: 0.34–0.93]).
CONCLUSIONS: The large effect size observed and complementary findings from a comparable randomized, controlled trial in the United States suggest programs that focus more generally on reducing risks and building resilience have the potential to reduce crashes. A large, representative, randomized, controlled trial is urgently needed to confirm road safety benefits and ensure evidence-based spending and practitioner recommendations in this field.