The George Institute For Global Health
United Kingdom

China novice driver study

Project status: 

This pilot study will develop and implement a driver education and training program for real world traffic conditions, adapted specifically to Chinese motoring conditions. Currently, new Chinese drivers learn to drive at off-road training facilities and are not permitted to practice outside of the driving schools. New drivers do not experience driving in heavy ‘down town’ traffic which leaves them ill equipped to detect potentially hazardous road situations.

The new driver-training program will focus on enhancing road safety knowledge, improving road safety behaviours, and reducing the number of offences, crashes, and near-crash situations.

Development and Evaluation of a Driver Education and Training Program to Reduce Novice Driver Crashes in China

Official statistics report more than 100,000 road traffic fatalities in China each year, although some estimates place this figure as high as 250,000. An additional 500,000 road traffic injuries are also sustained.

More than five million new drivers graduate in China each year. It is estimated that novice drivers, those licensed for three years or less, represent less than 30% of all drivers but are involved in more than half of all road crashes.

There is an urgent need for effective interventions to increase the safety of novice drivers in China.

The current driver education, training and licensing system in China was reviewed in Beijing in 2008. It was found that most driving as a learner was undertaken in purpose-built driving schools outside of the main city areas. No experience was gained in heavy traffic with large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists, more typical of driving in Beijing.

In 2008-2009 a driver education and training program was developed in conjunction with the Australian Driver Trainer’s Association of NSW and the Beijing Chinese-German Safe Driving Technology Development Company for newly-licensed drivers to undertake “real world” driving in city areas of Beijing.

A randomised control evaluation of the program’s effectiveness in reducing risky driving and potential crash involvement is underway. In total 250 new drivers will take part. Half will receive the program and half will act as controls and receive a roadside assistance membership. Surveys will be conducted at baseline and three months post-training.

Related unit: Injury