Novice male teen drivers are better than new male drivers in their 20s and male and female students who play sports are better new drivers than those who do not participate in organized sports. Video game experience, on the other hand, does not have any effect on driving skills.
A study from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) explored the relationship between new drivers’ skills, with driving instructors rating novice drivers on four factors: age, gender, sports participation and video game experience.
The results have prompted the study’s authors to propose that states consider ending mandatory driver’s education for only teens and expanding safety training to new drivers of all ages. “If translated into policy, the findings could improve driver training, ultimately reducing traffic accidents and saving lives,” the authors said.
For the study, 100 novice drivers — each with less than five hours of driving experience before their first driving lesson — participated in a two-hour lesson focused on car control and traffic maneuvers. Students drove on the streets of Los Angeles, ranked as having the worst traffic in the world. The group was evenly split by gender, and the students’ average age was 18.
The instructor ranked each student’s skills on a four-point scale, in which 1 means the student requires far more instruction and practice before taking the state driving test and 4 indicates the instructor believes the student is prepared to pass the test.
The researchers then analyzed the results and found: