Driver Education in Virginia: An Analysis of Performance Report Data

Report No: 86-R22

Published in 1986

About the report:

The Virginia Highway and Transportation Research Council was asked by the State Department of Education to assist in the analysis of the driver education programs taught throughout the state. In order to do so, the Research Council developed a computer software system designed to produce a myriad of statistical data. The reporting format used distinguished among the types of schools attended (public, private, or commercial), as well as the types of programs taught (two-phase, three-phase using simulators, three-phase using multiple car driving ranges, or four-phase). In addition, the format categorized crash and conviction data according to three driver experience levels (less than 1 year of driving experience, 1 to 2 years, and 2 to 3 years). Data were collected for two 12-month periods, and comparisons were made among the schools, the programs, and the experience levels. However, it was not possible to compare the accident and conviction rates of young people who had received formal driver training to those young people who had received either informal or no driver training, since Virginia law requires that to obtain a driver's license, all persons under 18 years of age complete a state-approved driver education course. The analysis of the data gathered led to the following findings: (1) students graduating from commercial driving schools in Virginia have a significantly greater incidence of accident involvement and a significantly higher rate of conviction for motor vehicle offenses than do students who receive their driver training at a public or private school; (2) during their first 3 years of driving, young people are convicted of motor vehicle offenses at an increasing rate each successive year, and this rate increases to such a degree that males who graduate from public high school driver education courses and who have 2 to 3 years of driving experience receive approximately 50 convictions for every I00 students during a single 12-month period; (3) young people who receive their training in a two-phase driver education program generally accumulate fewer convictions per 100 students than do their counterparts who receive their training in three-phase range, three-phase simulator, or four-phase programs. The capsulized versions of these and other findings are in the section of this report entitled "Analysis of the Data."

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Kevin A. Ohlson, Charles B. Stoke

Last updated: February 10, 2024

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