What Is the Effect of Driver Education Programs on Traffic Crash and Violation Rates?
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What Is the Effect of Driver Education Programs on Traffic Crash and Violation Rates?

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      The use of educational interventions following traffic citations has become a common practice in nearly all states across the United States. Although there is an underlying assumption that educational intervention will reduce the rate of recurring citations and crashes, little evaluation of programs across the country has been completed. Following the review of the evaluations conducted in six of the states that offer educational interventions, such as Traffic Survival School, a brief survey was conducted with the schools contracted with the Arizona Department of Transportation to assess the level of effectiveness of programs. Since the schools have no contract clause requiring evaluative measures of the programs, none of the schools conducted any formal evaluation of the program offered. Data for drivers referred to Traffic Survival School during the calendar year 2001 (high-risk offenders) were compared with data for drivers who received a citation during 2001, but were not referred to a Traffic Survival School (low-risk offenders). There is little difference in the rate of receiving another citation between the drivers who complete Traffic Survival School and those who were not referred to school. Those who opt to have their license suspended did show a significantly higher number of citations than those who were not referred. The long term effect of attending a Traffic Survival School or having a license suspended is minimal as more than 80% of each group who do receive another citation will do so in the first year. This is significantly higher than the lower risk drivers, at 62%. Crash rates among those who are referred to a Traffic Survival School are significantly higher than those who are not referred. In all groups the incident of crashes is significantly reduced, but the biggest reduction is seen, again, in drivers who have their license suspended.
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