Parent-taught driver education in Texas: A comparative evaluation
An evaluation of the Parent-Taught Driver Education (PTDE) program in Texas was conducted using three different research techniques: (1) focus groups with driver education instructors, teen drivers, and their parents; (2) a statewide mail survey of young drivers; and (3) an analysis of Texas driver records. Differences in Age at Licensing Prior to implementation of the Texas graduated driver licensing (GDL) program in 2002, the PTDE program does not appear to have encouraged earlier licensing,
... earlier licensing, and may have delayed obtaining an instructional permit for a portion of the PT students. Since implementation of the GDL, PT students obtain their instruction permits earlier than commercial/ public school driver education students, suggesting that PT novice drivers are subject to the opportunity for increased exposure to the risks of driving. Differences in Attitudes, Knowledge, and Skills of Novice Drivers Driver education (DE) students and their parents generally agree that the PTDE program offers advantages over commercial and public school modes of DE delivery in terms of cost, comfort, and individualized personal attention to the student. Professional DE instructors believe the negative aspects of the PTDE program outweigh any perceived benefits, due largely to a lack of training, knowledge, and teaching skills on the part of parent-teachers. As measured by stateadministered tests, PT students demonstrate poorer driving knowledge early in the training and licensing process and poorer driving skills at the end of formal driver education. Although only a small proportion of DE students fail to pass either the test required to obtain an instructional permit or the optional in-vehicle road test on the first attempt, significantly more PT drivers require multiple attempts to pass either test. Differences in Driving Errors, Traffic Offenses and Crash Involvement Self-reports by young drivers reveal no, or at most very small, differences related to type of DE with regard to driving knowledge and skills, driver errors, traffic convictions, and crashes among drivers subject to the GDL program. Driver records, however, both before and after implementation of the GDL, indicate PT novice drivers committed more traffic offenses and were in more crashes than were commercial or public school-trained drivers. Since implementation of the GDL, traffic convictions and crashes are substantially fewer for all novice drivers. Differences that exist are smaller and favor PT drivers during the period of most supervision (i.e., instructional permit phase of licensing). However, during the period when requirements for adult supervision are reduced (provisional license), and after supervisory and other GDL restrictions are removed (full licensure), PT drivers again experience proportionally more total traffic convictions and more, and more serious, crashes than drivers trained under commercial/public school DE programs.