Accompanied driving and novice driver accident risk: what is the relationship?

On 14 December 2006, CIECA and VdTUEV (one of CIECA’s member organisations from Germany) held an international workshop on the role of accompanied driving in the driver training and licensing process. Attended by over 70 participants from 20 countries, the workshop discussed how gaining experience through accompanied driving – for example, driving with a parent - can help reduce the accident risk of novice drivers. Presentations were given by the OECD, CIECA and EFA (European Driving Schools Association) and by representatives from 7 European countries.

Accompanied driving is currently allowed in 17 European countries. Experience in Sweden and Norway suggests that high levels of pre-licence accompanied practice (‘volume’ or ‘quantity’ training) can significantly reduce accident risk in the initial post-licence phase. Experience and theory suggests that a considerable 5000-7000kms of accompanied driving experience are necessary to achieve this aim. Based on evaluations in Great Britain, Finland and Sweden, the accompanied driving phase itself is comparatively safe, with only marginally more accidents when compared to practical lessons with a driving school.

Germany’s new post-test accompanied driving model is arousing considerable interest around Europe and the first fully scientific results are expected in mid-2007. Under this model, learner drivers follow the standard driving school-only training but can take the driving test already at 17, instead of 18 years old. The first year of driving after the test must be accompanied by a named supervisor.The conclusions of this workshop were in line with the recent recommendations of the OECD report on Young Drivers, which stated: ‘….most probably, the best practice for driver education would be a mixture of rather short periods of formal training [i.e. with professional instructors], alternated with long periods of informal training [i.e. accompanied practice with non-professionals such as parents].”This idea of alternating driving school training with accompanied practice is currently being encouraged in Norway, under its new driver training curriculum (2004+).The workshop report and presentations are available on request at the CIECA secretariat (