Hergott: Driver training and car crashes

Lawyer Paul Hergott begs the question, does driver training reduce vehicle related incidents?

Does driver education and training produce safer drivers and reduce crashes?

Might that qualify for the “dumb question of the year” award?

Certainly, a lot of British Columbians must be “buying in” to the notion. ICBC lists 54 driving school businesses offering approved driver education courses at 221 locations. The courses run at approximately $1,000.00 per student.

Before you dismiss the question, though, consider that the effectiveness of driver education and training has been researched and the results are far from overwhelming. Here are links to reviews of scientific studies from 2011.

Why? One conclusion pointed to skill as being a primary focus of driver education. The final paragraph of the 2011 article notes: “…yet skill as measured by on-the-road tests has never been shown to be correlated with driver crash rates” (2011 article, last paragraph).

No surprise there. Inattention and distraction cause the vast majority of crashes. Precious little skill is required to keep a vehicle between the lines. Perhaps even less is required to bring your vehicle to a stop when the traffic ahead of you comes to a stop.

Have I mentioned, recently, that fully 50 per cent of the personal injury claims I prosecute arise from rear-enders?

In fact, teaching young people how to skillfully manage emergency driving situations might cause more harm than good! Here is a very interesting article on that point.

Again, no surprise when you put your mind to it. Is a teenager’s level of care likely to go up or down as a result of developing skills for managing a skid!?

I hate to say “I told you so”, but what I’ve been preaching for years remains true: driver safety is all about driver attitudes. Quoting from the same concluding paragraph of the 2011 article: “…there have been numerous studies documenting the highly significant role of attitudinal and lifestyle factors in the high crash rate of young drivers…”.

So I looked at ICBC requirements for an approved driver education course.

An ICBC approved driver education course must include at least 16 classroom hours, 12 practical hours, and 4 discretionary hours. The curriculum requirements list four broad goals, each of which with clearly listed learning objectives.

My heart was warmed seeing that the majority of learning objectives focus squarely on driving attitudes.

Well done, ICBC!

Are those learning objective being effectively taught by 54 independently run driving schools?

The most basic of crash data collection should allow ICBC to provide statistics of the numbers of crashes caused by those with and without the approved driver education course. Care to provide those statistics, ICBC?

Let’s assume that a driving attitude-focused education course produces safer drivers and reduces crashes.

If so, why is it not mandatory?

Is it our goal for only the most affluent of drivers (those who can afford the $1,000.00 price tag) to have good driving attitudes?

What percentage of new drivers fork over the $1,000.00 for the course? Care to provide that statistic, ICBC?

British Columbia’s graduated licensing program requires almost nothing of driver education and training. New drivers must simply:

  1. pass a written test;
  2. allow time to pass while holding an “L” license (requiring adult supervision along with other restrictions);
  3. pass a road test, qualifying them for an “N” license; and
  4. allow some more time to pass while holding the “N” license (passenger and other restrictions).

Unlike some other jurisdictions, there is not even a requirement for any actual driving to occur during the “passage of time”.

If you can afford the ICBC approved driver education course, you shave 6 months off the time requirement.

Road safety in British Columbia has never reached the priority it should have. Perhaps soaring ICBC rates will cause British Columbians to demand an effective road safety strategy.

Will our new government step up to the plate?

Just Posted

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Kelowna city councillor suggests bringing back photo radar

Gail Given says it could help generate traffic fine revenue for the city—and make roads safer

‘Game changer” research deal between three B.C. Interior universities

UBCO, TRU, UNBC say deal will help innovation, research, aid students and increase quality of life

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

Lind nets three in Rockets win; Dube and Foote named to Canada’s roster

Kole Lind returns from national junior camp to lead Rockets to victory in P.A.

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Annual Christmas meal held as Kelowna Gospel Mission

The meal will be held tomorrow from 12 to 6 p.m.

Michaels: Big Brother has become a big letdown

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, but privacy should still have some appeal.”

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Most Read