Although driver education (DE) is widely accepted as an effective teen driver safety measure and widely available in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, evaluations have generally failed to show that such formal programs actually produce safer drivers. To address the issue of safety effects as part of a larger investigation, two studies were conducted to examine whether the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)-approved DE program was associated with reductions in collisions and convictions. In the first study, DE status among a relatively small sample of teens who completed an online survey was not found to have a significant effect on collisions and convictions. In the second study, of a much larger population of teen drivers, DE status was associated with a lower incidence of collisions and convictions. On balance, this suggests that the safety effects of DE are either neutral, based on the results of the first Oregon study, or cautiously optimistic based on the results of the second study. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of making improvements in DE that are evidence-based, and the need for further evaluation to establish that improved and new programs meet their safety objectives.
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