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DIA Announces Major Initiative to Reduce New Driver Deaths and Injuries in the UK

The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) today launched an extensive project to reduce the horrific number of deaths and serious injuries to new drivers on British roads. For the next four months its 14,500 members – Instructors and Advanced Driving Instructors – will be able to psychometrically profile all of their learner driver pupils and input to the development of the profiling system which determines the personality-specific training needs of each learner to make them safer on the road.

Of the 750,000 people who pass the driving test each year, three-quarters are under 25 years old and one in five will have some kind of accident within six months. The number of new drivers involved in accidents has risen over the last 10 years and today during every hour of every day a person under 25 is killed or seriously injured in a car.

“The current driving test assesses people’s conventional driving skills and a very basic knowledge of the rules of the road, but poor attitude and behaviour are the cause of 95% of all car crashes,” explained Eddie Barnaville, Chief Executive of the DIA. “It doesn’t take into account a driver’s attitude towards driving – and the way drivers think is the most vital part of safe driving.

“Today’s announcement provides every Instructor with the opportunity to help in the design of a service that will impact on the shocking statistics that we see year after year and the horrific toll on our young people and other inexperienced drivers.”

The new project comes in advance of the findings of the recent Government public consultation entitled ‘Learning to Drive,’ which is widely expected to be the biggest reform of the driver training and testing system in the UK since the introduction of the L-test, and which is likely to address ‘attitude’ to driving in some form. The findings of the consultation are expected to be published in June 2009.

The DIA is working with online psychometric profiling application specialists PeopleMaps, who have developed the project. Instructors will receive a report, together with a duplicate report that can be given to the driver so that they too understand how and why their training has been designed to help their specific requirements.

“The system evaluates the driver’s personality in terms of how it could impact on their ability as a driver. For example, one of the main focuses is on the driver’s levels of concentration and patience, both essential qualities of a good driver. It also highlights which individual personality traits could lead to them driving badly too,” said Stephen Sharp, Director of PeopleMaps.

“As the system is entirely web-based it also makes it very quick and simple. For example, to complete the online questionnaire and receive the final report takes under 10 minutes. But most importantly there is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ with the test: the process is designed solely so that Instructors know what type of training is needed, where to focus it and how to deliver it effectively to suit each driver.”

DIA members will have unlimited use of the PeopleMaps service in return for their input to develop the profiling system using an extensive online feedback questionnaire. Each instructor will be charged just £5 per month to cover administration and delivery costs. All other development costs will be covered by PeopleMaps, reflecting its desire and commitment to help reduce the fatalities amongst new drivers on UK roads. The research will continue until July 2009 with results from the feedback incorporated into the service on an ongoing basis.

Driving Instructors can access the service by signing up for a PeopleMaps account at the DIA’s web site www.driving.org.

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