Age Specific

Age-Specific Driver Improvement Programs

Professionals in the field of traffic safety instruction have long been aware that a driver’s skill development must be viewed in its four stages if meaningful and successful driver improvement programs are to be designed.  

Unfortunately, most of the programs currently offered in the field of traffic safety were developed with a viewpoint that “one size fits all”. This view has resulted in generic program development rather than programs that target each
developmental stage throughout a driver’s lifetime. Consequently, when judges and other authorities require an errant driver to participate in a program, that program is typically attended by drivers from every stage of skill development. Few training programs in any other field fall to this level.

The New Driver - Age 15-18
Characterized by sense of awe over new-found freedom.
Increasingly distrustful of authority.
Little awareness of dangers associated with driving an automobile.
Poor understanding of the many skills required to safely operate an automobile.
Minimal awareness of how “motion” effects the sensory and cognitive skills of a driver.
Possesses a deep sense of personal invulnerability.

The Young-Adult Driver - Age 18-30
Characterized by emerging independence.
This is associated with moving away from home and the removal of direct parental guidance.)
Overwhelming peer influence.
New-found freedom produces a greater sense of daring.
Tends to take unnecessary chances.
Sense of invulnerability, especially during early years of age group.

The Maturing Driver - Age 30-55
Characterized by work and family responsibilities.
Observable diminishing of sensory and physical skills.
Responses governed increasingly by habit rather than by specific reasoning.
Emerging awareness of vulnerability and mortality.
Familiarity and routine affect conscious awareness.

The Mature Driver - Age 55+
Characterized by diminishing sensory, cognitive and physical function.
Routine actions governed almost entirely by “habit”.
Total awareness of own mortality.
Typically unaware of changing traffic laws, traffic patterns and changes in own and others driving behavior.
Tendency toward being “over careful” to the point of creating hazardous situations.
Tends to view self as a very safe driver, especially in later stages of this age group.

Over the past several years Insurance companies, spurred on primarily by state governments, have begun to address the over-55 age group through programs such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 55 Alive program. This is a good first step.  However, until governmental agencies and others responsible for training drivers begin to recognize the ineffectiveness of the traditional “one-program-serves-all” approach, little progress in solving the increasing problems of
our roadways can be expected.

The TSS Youth/Parent Perceptive Driving Seminar was created to address the problems of the most vulnerable group.