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Chinese novice drivers can receive free “on-road” training

Media release: 
16/07/2010

Combining the best global practices with China’s on-road situations, researchers from the George Institute, China have developed a series of free “on-road” training programs for novice drivers.

The number of private cars is growing fast in China. By the end of 2009, the country led the world in new car sales.  However, with more novice drivers learning to drive, safe driving has become a worrying issue.  Traffic accidents involving novice drivers are increasing each year, rising from 50% to 60-70% of all crashes in China. The WHO statistics show that traffic accidents and suicide are the two leading causes for young people’s death in China.

Funded by the FIA Foundation, researchers from The George Institute for Global Health in Australia and China have developed a free training course for these newly-licensed drivers. The program will be scientifically evaluated after the training is finished.

In China, a novice driver can drive on-road straight after obtaining their driver license. However, in Australia and some other countries, new drivers have to be accompanied by an experienced driver and spend quite a bit of time getting used to actual traffic during “on-road” training.  “At the beginning novice drivers are more likely to feel nervous or over-confident and may react poorly towards traffic hazards or other emergencies.  It may only take several hours for a novice driver to understand how to technically drive a car on the road, however, developing safety perceptions and defensive driving skills require much longer time. Driving in real traffic situations can gradually help a novice driver develop their observation, anticipation, and driving skills, and eventually become an experienced driver,” says Dr James Yu from the George Institute, China.

The study will be conducted in Beijing at first, targeting novice drivers who have just obtained or are about to obtain a C1 or C2 driver license.  This training program will be extended to other regions of China if the result in Beijing is positive.