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Anticipating the content and circumstances of skill transfer: Unrealistic expectations of driver training and graduated licensing?

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There is substantial evidence that driving skills improve during driver training, but the long-term safety benefit of such formal training remains unproven. Restricting the exposure of newly licensed drivers to more hazardous driving circumstances, as in graduated driver licensing (GDL) regimes, demonstrably reduces crash risk, but drivers remain at risk after the restrictions are eased. GDL and most other licensing regimes advocate increased basic training and practice, but thereafter require neither advanced training nor systematic increase in exposure to risk. This assumes that basic skills acquired during formal training will transfer positively to new and more demanding traffic circumstances. This paper reviews the theoretical basis for these assumptions and offers a way of systematically identifying the extent of transfer desired. It is concluded that there is little theoretical or empirical foundation for the supposition that what is learned during or after training will have a safety benefit in later driving.
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Keywords: Driver training; Driving; Skill acquisition; Transfer of training

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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