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.”

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels