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The future of driver education

What is the course?

Course Overview

The BTEC Level 2 Driving and Driver Education is a 60 hours course accredited by Edexcel. It is the only in-class and in-car recognised qualification of it’s type in the UK.

The course is split into two main sections; in-class driver education (40 hours) and in-car practical driver training with peer review (20 hours).

The course is split into 5 units as laid out below:
Unit 1: Motor Vehicle Construction and Use
Unit 2: The Driving Environment
Unit 3: Risks, Goals and Contexts for Driving
Unit 4: Positive Driving Behaviour as a Life Skill
Unit 5: Practical Driver Training and Peer Review

Assessment of units 1 – 4 is via mix of practical tasks and multiple choice questions based upon the learning outcomes.

Assessment of unit 5 is via the completion of the practical drivers’ record and the completion of the peer review process.

The in-class education (units 1-4 40hrs) can take place within the schools curriculum time, during free periods, during enrichment time or as an afterschool activity.

In-car practical driver coaching with peer review takes place outside of normal school hours the same as any other practical driving lesson.

Benefits of the BTEC

The BTEC level 2 Driving and Driver Education is the only course of it’s kind in the UK. The BTEC is a safety based qualification that appeals to students, parents, schools and employers.

Benefits to students

  • Lower crash risk
  • Develops life skills
  • Recognised qualification
  • Popular with employers
  • Cheaper driving lessons
  • 15% insurance savings for all course graduates*

Benefits to parents

  • Peace of mind
  • Ability to source a driving instructor based on quality
  • Cheaper driving lessons
  • 15% insurance savings for all coursegraduates*

Benefits to the school

  • Positive publicity
  • Very popular with students and parents
  • Increased Y11 retention
  • Increased Y12 intake
  • Increased post-16 attendance
  • Popular with OFSTED

Benefits to employers

  • Increased confidence in employing young people in a driving role
  • Young people who understand risk assessment in a fleet context
  • Young people who understand and have skills in journey planning
  • Potentially reduced insurance costs

*through Adrian Flux once you have passed your practical driving test.

Scientific background of the BTEC

The BTEC L2 Driving and Driver Education was written by Driving Force Ltd experts in driver training and education.

The BTEC is based upon the Goals for Driver Education Matrix (Hatakka et al, 2002). The GDE Matrix was adopted by the European Union as part of the Hermes Project in Driver Coaching in 2010 as a framework on which to base all driver education.

Course Background

The GDE Matrix lays out the necessary content of a driver education course and importantly includes driver self-evaluation and journey and personality issues, which are not covered in a standard driving test or course of lessons.

Research has shown that teaching drivers self-evaluation skills reduces crash risk (Hattakka et al., 2002, ) as it increases internality (Huang & Ford, 2012) and helps to rebalance young drivers perception of skill and risk (Mynttinen et al., 2009).

In order to create self-evaluating drivers it is necessary to use coaching techniques not known to most UK driving instructors, who have traditionally been trained in instructional techniques only. Driver coaching techniques have been shown to increase levels of key skills such as situational judgment and accurate risk perception (Deery, 1999, Keating, 2007). Attitude and behaviour change are also more likely if driver education deals with subjective and social norms, particularly with regards to young drivers (Engstrom et al., 2003).

BTEC in-car tutors have been specially selected based on their ability to follow coaching techniques where appropriate and receive continual training and quality assurance not available to most independently working driving instructors.

Research also shows that extending learning periods reduces crash risk (McKnight & Peck, 2002, Williams, 2007, Keating, 2007 and TRL, 2013). By supplying young people with a 60 hour course over an academic year the BTEC is ensuring that learning takes place over an extended period, even if a student passes their practical test before completing the course. Extended learning periods ensure that students have time in between sessions to reflect on their learning and allows for ideas and knowledge to become imbedded in memory and have been shown to lower crash risk amongst students who take advantage of them by up to 40% (Gregersen et al., 2000).

Durkin & Tolmie (2010) conducted a review of young driver attitudes and behaviours for the UK government. They made multiple suggestions for young driver education in the UK, 5 of their key suggestions were:

  • Education should focus on perceived benefits of safe driving more than perceived risk
  • It should publicise the positive behaviours of adolescents and portray peer-norms as pro-safety
  • The ’real nature’ of driver competence should be promoted
  • That adolescents should be provided with the opportunity to evaluate each other’s safety levels and in how to raise concerns about others driving
  • Educational interventions should develop broad ranging strategies that take into account the multiple influences of young people’s orientation towards driving

The BTEC level 2 Driving and Driver Education follows all of Durkin and Tolmies (2010) suggestions above and more. It is the only course of it’s kind to offer 60 hours of education and practical coaching and as such it is the leading schools based driver education programme in the UK.

* In addition Nottinghamshire Road Safety Partnership conducted it’s own research into young driver and passenger behaviours prior to launching the BTEC. This was a replication of earlier research conducted by the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership and the Research Box (GRSP, 2013). Both studies found very strong similarities in the behaviours engaged in by young drivers and passengers suggesting that in-car behavioural risks are not limited to certain geographical areas. To download the full Nottinghamshire report click here.


The BTEC will be scientifically evaluated based on the courses ability to increase self-evaluation skills from pre-course to post-course levels. Going forward we wish to be able to measure post-test violation and crash rates in order to compare against the national average.

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