Evaluation of Light-Vehicle Driver Education Programs Targeting Sharing the Road with Heavy Vehicles: A Case Study Analysis
Baker, Stephanie Ann
Schaudt, William A.
Bowman, Darrell Scott
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The purpose of this case study project sponsored by the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence (NSTSCE) was twofold. First, researchers investigated current light-vehicle driver education programs that contain components on sharing the road with heavy vehicles and developed a supplemental practices document on key sharing-the-road information that teachers could cover with students. Second, a case study was performed with a light-vehicle driver education program in a single state that only included a basic textbook-based component on sharing the road with heavy vehicles. Two components were introduced into different driver education classrooms and evaluated in comparison with the basic textbook-based component. The first component introduced was updated material in the form of a DVD developed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance titled Teens and Trucks. The second component introduced was a hands-on truck experience program developed by NSTSCE researchers. Each classroom of students that received one of the components was invited to take part in a survey two months later and knowledge retention of key learning points (e.g., heavy vehicle No-Zones) was measured. Focus groups were also conducted with students to explore learning preferences related to driver education, understanding of key sharing-the-road information, and ratings of the various components. The mean percentage of correct responses for all survey questions was calculated and compared across the three conditions and did not show a statistically significant difference in knowledge retention of any one condition over another. Further analyses were performed to evaluate each survey question individually across conditions. Results found only one statistically significant difference: the textbook and truck condition outperformed the textbook condition regarding the proper front No-Zone distance. Although only one survey question analyzed for knowledge retention resulted in a statistically significant difference, students and teachers found the supplemental DVD and truck hands-on demonstration to be helpful, in particular the truck experience. The conclusion would seem to be that if a truck and driver are available teachers should try to include a truck hands-on experience when teaching sharing the road with trucks. Students are likely to find it helpful and preferable to just reading about sharing the road in their textbook.