Parents ‘a danger’ to L-platers
Teenagers taught to drive by their parents may be more prone to accidents and less aware of road safety than those trained by accredited instructors, researchers say.
A research paper by the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre says there is evidence that professional training produces safer drivers.
It also says learner drivers are less likely to be involved in serious crashes while being taught by professional instructors.
Though crashes did occur during their lessons, they were usually less serious and at low speeds.
Accidents when the young driver was supervised by a lay person — a member of the family or a friend — were often high-speed crashes.
The report for the RAC based on international research said professional training was often associated with positive driving attitudes.
“Drivers who receive more professional training have more favourable attitudes towards reckless driving, drink-driving, speeding and violations and are less likely to overestimate their driving ability, ” the paper said.
But, with the optimal amount of supervised training being between 4000km and 10,000km — or about 120 hours — a professional instructor could be cost-prohibitive.
“Consequently, most drivers learn to drive using a combination of professional instruction and supervised practice with a relative or friend, ” the paper said.
“This combination is beneficial, with learners who receive both professional and lay instruction being more likely to pass their practical driving test, compared with those who receive one form of training.”
The paper said the WA approach — whereby drivers gain experience on a learner’s permit and progress to unsupervised but restricted driving on a provisional licence — had led to a big reduction in young driver crash rates. But it said the rates were still high and toughening the system regime would not necessarily lead to fewer crashes.
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© The West Australian