Study Confirms teenSMART Significantly Reduces Crash Frequency and Traffic Violations

October 21, 2020

Elk Grove, CA – When safety awareness and defensive driving programs fail to reduce teen crashes and save lives, give ADEPT Driver® a call. Today ADEPT released the study Safety Benefits of teenSMART Driver Training. This study was conducted by Dunlap and Associates, Inc., a research and consulting firm that conducted the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration-sponsored evaluation of the safety benefits of the Risk Awareness and Perception Training program for novice teen drivers (RAPT study) in California in 2016. For the teenSMART study, motor vehicle records for more than 5,000 teenSMART graduates were compared to the control group used in the RAPT study.

“The new Dunlap study shows that teenSMART graduates had an average of 28% and up to a 49% reduction in crashes over the control group,” said Dr. Richard Harkness, CEO of ADEPT Driver. “Based on the tragically high teen driver crash rates, we know young drivers need effective crash-reduction training. We invented teenSMART to address this need, and are glad that this study is consistent with multiple other studies that document teenSMART’s effectiveness at reducing teen driver crashes.”

The Dunlap study also found that the teenSMART group had 54% to 67% fewer traffic violations one year after training. This was statistically significant and another hard data indicator that ADEPT’s crash-reduction training improved teen safe driving behaviors behind the wheel. In addition, the study notes that premium reductions allowed by state insurance boards in 49 states for completion of teenSMART also suggest the insurance carriers are providing similar actuarial evidence to support the effectiveness of the program.

The study suggests that to reduce teen driver crash rates, proven crash-reduction training like teenSMART could be integrated into existing graduated driver license programs, and could be effective as part of Phase 2 Driver Education after a young driver has received a first license for unsupervised driving.

“Our programs are the science-based alternative to safety awareness and traditional safety programs that provide basic knowledge of driver safety to the public,” said Dr. Harkness. “However, there is little or no evidence that awareness, traffic citation or defensive driving programs reduce crash frequency or severity or save lives. This should not come as a surprise as these courses do not treat the underlying causes of the crashes, or measurably improve critical skills needed to avoid a crash – most notably, visual awareness, hazard detection and risk perception. Insurance companies know this and are abandoning the awareness programs in favor of ones that show statistically significant improvement in teen driver crash avoidance skills and behaviors using hard data.”

ADEPT shared the findings of the Safety Benefits of teenSMART Driver Training study during National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 18-24, 2020), to encourage families with teen drivers to augment mandated “rules-of-the-road” training with proven crash-reduction training to ensure young drivers have the necessary skills to stay safe when behind the wheel.

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