The study presented in this paper is an evaluation of one aspect of North Carolina's driver improvement program; i.e., the processes utilized by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to retard the accumulation of traffic violations by drivers with incipient driving difficulty. Specifically, this study is an evaluation of one type of advisory letter (sent by the Department after the driver accumlates seven points on his driver record); the individual meeting with a hearing officer (in the form of a conference, preliminary hearing, or a hearing); the driver improvement clinic, per se; and the two types of curriculum utilized by the clinic instructors. Due to the formidable moral and legal problems of conducting well-controlled randomized experiments to evaluate the various aspects of the program enumerated, this study utilized data from official driver records maintained by DMV. Hence, there are inherent weaknesses in this type of evaluation, such as selection, regressiohn to the mean phenomenon, age and sex biases, as well as other weaknesses such as differences in exposure, present in any such evaluation. Every effort, however, was made to use various built-in comparison groups and to the extent possible minimize the potential biases. The main criterion variable utilized was average number of convictions (and also crashes) in the year subsequent to the driver improvement measure under evaluation. Other criterion variables used were percentage of drivers conviction free and crash free in the subsequent year. These analyses were preceded by determining comparability of prior record of comparison groups. Analyses were done within age and sex groups. In general, results were not dramatic. However, based on convictions, treads favored clinic participants when compared with drivers assigned to the clinic but not attending or completing the course. Differences between groups of drivers failing to attend a meeting with a hearing officer, or failing to even respond to the advisory letter, and the corresponding groups attending the meeting and then completing the clinic were not great and in some cases favored the failed-to-attend group. However many biases were present in this aspect of the analysis such as a greater proportion of drivers in the failed-to-attend group receiving suspensions and/or revocations. Finally, little difference was found between the traditional curriculum and The Defensive Driving Curriculum (DDC) developed by the National Safety Council. There was a slight trend for males to respond more favorably to the traditional curriculum and for females to respond to the DDC although very few differences were significant. In summary, drivers who attended the clinic tended to fare somewhat better on the basis of subsequent citations, although the finding was not consistent for all age and sex groups. It should be recongnized, however, that the value of the driver improvement system probably cannot be judged solely on citation and collision data. The fact that a driver improvement program exists may be having a positive effect on drivers that would not be reflected in the data in this study.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27599
  • Authors:
    • HOUSE, E G
    • Waller, P F
  • Publication Date: 1976-2

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 75 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00134747
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 23 1976 12:00AM