Mobility and safety are conflicting goals for transport policy makers when making decisions about graduated driver licensing
Bates, L., Watson, B., & King, M. (2010) Mobility and safety are conflicting goals for transport policy makers when making decisions about graduated driver licensing. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 48(2), pp. 46-51.
Policy decisions are frequently influenced by more than research results alone. This review examines one road safety countermeasure, graduated driver licensing, in three jurisdictions and identifies how the conflict between mobility and safety goals can influence policy decisions relating to this countermeasure. Evaluations from around the world of graduated driver licensing have demonstrated clear reductions in crashes for young drivers. However, the introduction of this countermeasure may be affected, both positively and negatively, by the conflict some policy makers experience between ensuring individuals remain both mobile and safe as drivers. This review highlights how this conflict in policy decision making can serve to either facilitate or hinder the introduction of graduated driver licensing systems. However, policy makers whose focus on mobility is too strong when compared with safety may be mistaken, with evidence suggesting that after a graduated driver licensing system is introduced young drivers adapt their behaviour to the new system and remain mobile. As a result, policy makers should consciously acknowledge the conflict between mobility and safety and consider an appropriate balance in order to introduce these systems. Improvements to the licensing system can then be made in an incremental manner as the balance between these two priorities change. Policy makers can achieve an appropriate balance by using empirical evidence as a basis for their decisions.
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