The P Drivers Project aims to enlist more than 26,000 drivers aged between 17 and 22 to take part in what is intended to be ‘one of the largest and most complex scientific research studies undertaken in the area of driver education in the world’.
The $10 million project has been jointly funded by the state and federal governments and the local car industry. It aims to involve around 25,000 Victoria P-platers – one in two in the state – as well as 1600 young drivers from parts of NSW including Western Sydney and areas around Tamworth, Dubbo and Lismore.
Participating P-platers will be involved in the program for three months. They will complete an online assessment that tests their ability to assess risk and gives them an opportunity to critique their own driving habits and ability.
P-platers will also attend two discussion sessions with their peers where they will watch road trauma videos and talk about ways to combat bad driving.
They will also spend two hours behind the wheel with an experienced driving coach, which for most P-platers will be their first drive with a professional instructor since they were on their Ls.
Other rewards for participating drivers will include fuel vouchers and the chance to win a new car.
The P Drivers Program aims to reduce the number and severity of crashes involving young drivers, improve the driving behaviour of young drivers, and increase awareness of the risk factors that contribute to high crash rates for young drivers.
The trial program will commence this month, following successful pilot testing in May and August. It will run for 15 months, with the first results to be released in 2014.
The program aims to combat the worrying trend that sees learner drivers turning from some of the safest drivers on the road to some of the riskiest once they graduate to their probationary licence.
Drivers aged between 18 and 20 are three times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than any other age group.
What do you think of the P Drivers Project? Is an incentive-based system with additional driver training the best way to improve the safety of young drivers on our roads? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.