Improving road safety for novice drivers: the role of parents

The second edition of Goodyear’s white paper 'Driving Safety First: Improving road safety for novice drivers' (PDF, 2.5MB)’ was published in October, 2014. It includes research carried out earlier in the year that put the focus on the parents of young drivers. The report also includes Goodyear’s previous research on the perspectives of novice drivers themselves and of driving instructors.

Olivier Rousseau, Goodyear’s vice president said that parents complete the ‘triangle of groups that matter the most in road safety’.

This article covers:

  • the aim of the research
  • what the study found
  • the recommendations that relate to parents.

The research aims

Goodyear commissioned research in 2014 on the role of the parents of novice drivers to complement previous studies on young drivers and driving instructors. The study explored parents’ attitudes to road safety and considered the example they set as drivers as well as how they support their children in learning to drive.

What the study found

The researchers surveyed nearly 7,000 parents of novice drivers (16-25yrs) from 19 European countries. The study acknowledged the significance of parents’ role in this important aspect of the transition to adulthood. It also included some challenges for parents and others involved in road safety work:

  • Parents are important role models for their children both in setting an example as a driver and in how they support children learning to drive.
  • Parents feel confident and safe in their driving, but may be overestimating how well they drive. Parents have a complimentary role to play but should not seek to take the place of professional instructors.
  • Engagement between parents, novice drivers, instructors and schools could strengthen the way novice drivers are prepared to be safe on the road.
  • Parents show a keen interest in their children as they learn to drive but may be too generous in their assessment of how safely novices drive.
  • Parents should be encouraged to refresh their driving skills when their children are learning to drive, and to support children in retaining skills on car maintenance acquired ahead of the driving test.

Recommendations

Goodyear’s white paper includes a wide range of recommendations aimed at improving the safety of novice drivers. The following three relate exclusively to parents:

  • The European Commission should encourage and fund public campaigns to increase awareness of parents’ role in educating their children about road safety.
  • Local governments should encourage refresher courses in driving for experienced drivers.
  • The insurance industry should incentivise parents who demonstrate their commitment to safe driving.

More information

Download Goodyear’s white paper, 'Driving Safety First: Improving road safety for novice driverss' (PDF 2.5MB).

Watch a video of the round table debate on the parents’ survey results.

See our topic briefing on young drivers and the article on the Honest Truth Partnership’s innovative resources aimed at novice drivers.

Updated November 2014