Parental perspectives on driver education programs

Focus groups were conducted with the parents of young people learning to drive who were either participating in or not participating in a professional driver education course. Guided by the Goals for Driver Education (GDE) Framework, the focus groups investigated parents’ perceptions about what professional driver education courses should focus on training their children. The study also utilized a novel draw-and-talk qualitative research technique to gain parents perspectives about using driving simulators within professional driver education courses.

The data were analysed qualitatively using a six-step thematic analysis. Major findings included that parents felt the need to outsource skills related to vehicle manoeuvring (GDE level 1) and mastery of traffic environments (GDE level 2) to professional driving instructors because they did not feel confident in their current knowledge or skills to teach them. In many cases, parents were worried that they would ‘pass bad habits’ onto their children. Contrasting this, parents did not outsource training related to higher-order and macroenvironmental influences on driving related to the Goals and contexts of driving (GDE level 3) and Goals for life/skills for living (GDE level 4). Parents perceived that they were responsible for teaching children ‘road sense’. A recurring theme throughout the focus groups was parents’ perceptions about the potential impacts of interpersonal conflict with their children throughout the novice driver period.


Funding / Grants

  • ARC Linkage Grant (2017 - 2019)