Roadway safety is a shared responsibility and driver behavior can help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe. Driver training programs serve as an educational component of a multi-faceted strategy to address the rules of the road. Driver behaviors influence speed, passing distance, and yielding which can all have impacts on vulnerable road users, and either lead to or prevent crashes. Understanding traffic signals and infrastructure, as well as state and local ordinances and regulations also contribute to safe driving behaviors. A critical component to any driver training program is centered on the theme of defensive driving and a moral obligation to protect pedestrians and bicyclists outside of the vehicle who are susceptible to critical injuries or even fatalities in crashes. Drivers should also understand the rules of the road for bicyclists and pedestrians so as to better anticipate their behaviors.

Driver training programs are available for different types of drivers. A traditional approach to driver education begins with novice teen drivers, however, there is an opportunity for parents and school activities to begin driver education even earlier, as there are several approaches for emphasizing driver behavior as children grow, learning from the perspective of walking or biking. Education at childhood is more effective as a long-term, life-long approach, rather than short-term interventions. Driver training programs are also available for other new drivers, such as those learning in adulthood, or learning in a new country or language. A Graduated Driver Licensing program allows new drivers to safely gain experience before obtaining full privileges. Older adults may also seek training programs as they progress in life to learn about new infrastructure or relearn skills. There are also driver training programs for fleet vehicle drivers, or people who drive for employment purposes, such as rideshare companies. Considerations for pedestrians and bicyclists are important in areas where drivers may be stopping frequently for passengers or deliveries, especially along curbsides with parallel bicycle lanes or pedestrian crosswalks.

Resources

Driver Education Curriculum includes a chapter on sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists and how drivers should interact with other roadway users.

Large Vehicle Urban Driving Safety Video trains drivers of large vehicles in San Francisco, California, where large vehicle crashes account for 17% of all traffic fatalities.

Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards provides a framework to teach skills to novice teen drivers to perform as safe and competent drivers and integrates considerations for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Guide to Defensive Driver Training helps improve fleet drivers' performance to reduce vehicle crashes.

Older Drivers in the Workplace: How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Crashes Fact Sheet gives employers and workers information on age-related physical and mental changes that may affect older workers' driving.

School Bus Driver In-Service Safety Series offers refresher training on driving a school bus to avoid crashes.

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Examples

Bicycle Friendly Driver Training packages bicycling safety education from the driver perspective to develop a common understanding about sharing the road.

Dutch Reach Project advocates for using the far hand to open vehicle doors to avoid dooring bicyclists and was integrated into the Massachusetts Driver's Manual as best practice.

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Related Webinars

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