Novice Drivers Get Safe With ÖAMTC
Publication date: 20 March 2008
A comprehensive training programme offered by Austria's ÖAMTC club helps prepare young drivers for challenges on the road ahead.
Known as multi-phase driver training, the ÖAMTC's in-depth training programme has greatly increased safety among novice drivers in Austria. In 2006 there were only half as many fatalities in accidents involving novice drivers compared with 2002.
The club is also gaining new members on a trial basis as part of the training courses at driving safety centres.
Multi-phase driver training was introduced in Austria in January 2003. The measure is aimed at helping to protect the particularly high-risk group of young motorists, who in ÖAMTC's view, due to a tendency to get emotional behind the wheel and their lack of risk management, cause the majority of accidents involving individual vehicles in the first few months following their driving test. ÖAMTC believes that awareness-raising activities and above all better training for motorists are among the fundamental elements of any effective road safety work.
As part of multi-phase driver training, novice drivers must complete their first advanced driving session within two to four months of passing their test. In precisely defined exercises candidates must demonstrate their aptitude to a driving instructor. They must also have a talk with the instructor which addresses psychological state.
Within three to six months motorists must then undergo a driving safety training course. During a two-hour session they learn how to avoid hazards in practice while driving on a special circuit. A group discussion on road psychology also takes place the same day, focusing in particular on the tendency of young drivers to overestimate their abilities.
The second advanced driving session takes place six to 12 months after the driving test. Once again it is designed to check if young drivers have control of their vehicle. It is only after this second advanced driving session that the multi-phase driver training is completed.
Statistics show that the introduction of multi-phase driver training has drastically reduced the number of accidents involving young people in general: in 2002 novice drivers of cars or motorcycles were involved in 7,793 accidents, according to the 2006 accident statistics. That figure has since fallen to 6,565 accidents, a 15.7 per cent reduction. Sadly 2002 was also a record year for accidents involving novice drivers, with 170 fatalities.
However, in 2006 there were 83 deaths, which means the number of fatalities has been halved. The current statistics also show that the accidents that do occur now tend to involve novice drivers who have not yet completed their multiphase driver training courses rather than drivers who had completed the course.
For the ÖAMTC with its more than twenty years of experience in the area of safety courses, the quality of the training is the top priority. Every day an average of eleven multi-phase courses at held at the ÖAMTC's nine driving safety centres.
Since multi-phase driver training was first introduced more than 160,000 novice drivers have completed the ÖAMTC training programme. As a special club bonus every young novice driver is offered an introductory ÖAMTC membership limited to one year as part of the training course. During that year they are able to make use of all the benefits of a full club membership, without any restrictions. For example all participants in multi-phase driver training courses who do not have their own vehicles are provided with a car or motorcycle free of charge for training purposes – although pre-booking is required.
In 2007 the ÖAMTC welcomed a total of 55,631 new members on a trial basis. A large proportion consists of learner drivers and novice drivers who are also contacted through close co-operation with Austrian driving schools.
The ÖAMTC is of course very keen to acquire these introductory members and convert them into "paying" members using a dense network of direct marketing measures. The success rate averages around 12.1 per cent; however it is set to increase substantially over the next five years, with the ÖAMTC continually canvassing these one-off "complimentary members" through its mailshot campaigns.