Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Understanding Risk The Key To Saving Young Lives

Media Release: October 5 2006

Understanding Risk The Key To Saving Young Lives

“The issue isn’t necessarily driving age, the main issue is giving young drivers effective training that decreases their risk-taking behaviour,” says Dr Robert Isler, the senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Waikato currently conducting a ground-breaking young driver study in Taupo alongside the AA Driver Education Foundation.

“The brain’s frontal lobe doesn’t develop fully until you’re 25, and young drivers are therefore more at risk from making inappropriate decisions when driving. Teenage drivers are 19 times more likely to crash in their first six months driving solo, than in the months in which they were supervised.”

“But unless you raise the driving age to 25, the issue isn’t only age, it’s also training.”

Isler’s comprehensive study hopes to prove that cognitive skills training to offset that undeveloped frontal lobe does work. “This experiment will let us determine what is appropriate, so it can be applied to any young driver under 25.”

One major problem for young drivers is an inflated self confidence in their driving ability. Isler’s study includes innovative exercises to puncture that confidence.

For example, on a closed road outside Turangi, an instructor drives at 50kph down the right hand lane. The young driver follows at what he or she sees as an appropriate distance down the left hand lane. The instructor slams on the brakes …

Every student initially follows too close, stops too late – and overlaps the other car in what would, in real life, have been a crash. Hokitika’s David Couper is typical. “I thought I was going to stop in time but I couldn’t, even though I knew I’d have to stop.”

No instruction is given, but every student drops back for subsequent runs and every student knows what to do – Couper: “That two second rule works.” Until this exercise, he hadn’t absorbed the importance of the rule in real life conditions.

Then there’s the instrumented AMS car. It looks like an ordinary Subaru Impreza. But it carries an array of electronic equipment reading everything from acceleration and G-forces, to whether both hands are on the wheel, or you’re trailing the clutch.

AMS instructor Karen Paramore says it’s hard to argue with a computer. “We surprised a few of them when we showed them what we’d downloaded.”

“Some of the improvements are unreal,” Paramore says. “It’s like they want to beat the computer – so they’re really thinking about what they’re doing.”

Will they relax in their own car? “I don’t think so, because once they see what they’re doing wrong, they see the logic and understand the safety factor. Tell them to do something because it’s the law and they’ll say, ‘sod you’. Knowing the when and why makes a difference. Why not tailgate? Not because it’s annoying – after the emergency exercises they know why, and with the instruments we can show how often they’re doing it, and they get a shock.”

Dr Isler’s study is targeted at the thought processes in which young drivers fall short.

“One problem with young drivers is an inflated self confidence in their driving ability. How people perceive their abilities has an important impact on their risk-taking behaviour. For example, they speed because they hold unrealistic beliefs about their ability to deal with hazards at high speed.”

“In the frontal lobe project we promote awareness of their limitations in real driving situations to reduce risk-taking behaviour.”

Dr Isler hopes the frontal lobe project will drive development of evidence-based training interventions, based on best international practice, to help young drivers learn to keep themselves safe.

“Raising the driving age doesn’t solve the whole problem,” Isler says. “Accurately targeted training for learner drivers under 25 years of age is another key.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>


14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>


Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>


Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>


Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>


Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>


Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>


"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>





InfoPages News Channels