Two common myths about fleet driver safety

Traffic Psychologists have spend decades investigating common sense assumptions about driver behaviour, and the research findings are sometimes surprising and often challenge the prevailing wisdom about what constitutes a safe driver.

There are two fairly persistent myths –

Myth #1: That passing a knowledge-based test means you are a safer driver

Whilst a basic knowledge of road signs and traffic rules is of course necessary for elementary driving competence, a driver’s level of knowledge is no guarantee that they will be safe behind the wheel. However, many driver risk assessments assess a driver’s ability to score well on a test of knowledge of road signs and traffic rules. A review of several studies revealed little evidence that passing a knowledge based test about road signs and traffic rules is associated with lower crash risk. One of the earliest studies of more than twenty thousand drivers found no associations of any significance between errors on a driving knowledge test and driving over more than four years.

Myth #2: That being a skilled driver means you are a safer driver

There is a common sense assumption that focusing on skills-based driver training will lead to improved driver safety. However, there is  substantial evidence to suggest that more skilful drivers do not necessarily crash less This is because improvements in fleet safety require safer driving behaviour and habits, not just better skills. Even well-trained drivers with the highest levels of skill may use those skills inappropriately. Secondly, skills-based driver training can actually decrease driver safety probably due to the emergence in overconfidence in driving ability.