Proof That Defensive Driving Works

Illinois Defensive Driving Course Study

Flag of Illinois, where DTA courses passed effectiveness studies

The first scientific study of DTA's Program for Driver Improvement defensive driving course was conducted by the Cook County, Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety from 1977 through 1980.

This study found that DTA's unique attitude-based approach to driver improvement reduced by one-half the frequency of repeat convictions of persons who participated in the program. Stated another way: "...those problem drivers who did not participate in the program had a re-conviction rate within six months which is twice as large as the other drivers who took part in it" (page 12).

The Illinois study supported earlier findings of a Florida State University study using a similar methodology to that of Aetna / DTA. The FSU study "...validated the treatment as having a significant effect in helping problem drivers improve their own unsafe driving behavior" (Illinois Study, page 6).

The State of Illinois found that if DTA's traffic school program had not been available in Cook County, an estimated 43% of the drivers would have been re-convicted (page 18). The study additionally found that 2,125 accidents in twenty-four months, or 1,063 accidents per year, were avoided as a result of the implementation of DTA's defensive driving program in Cook County, Illinois (page 19).

According to the Illinois study:

The analysis of available data shows that re-convictions are significantly less...for those problem drivers who completed the course compared to those who did not. The course is also effective in helping problem drivers reduce the number of re-convictions per driver for violations of traffic law. (page 20)

Interestingly, the Illinois study also concluded that:

...the knowledge of the legal driving practices...was not a critical deficiency for most problem drivers. In other words, a person's familiarity with traffic laws alone is not sufficient to ensure that the person will drive a motor vehicle in a safe and legal manner. Hence a course based on a transactional analysis model [such as the DTA Program for Driver Improvement] which is aimed at changing attitudes and driving behavior, would logically be a suitable remedy for problem drivers. (page 21)

Texas Study  |  City of Dallas

Flag of Texas, where DTA defensive driving course reduces tickets and violations

The Illinois study was further enhanced by a study conducted by the City of Dallas Municipal Court System on the "Effectiveness of Driver Improvement Training."

This two-year study conducted in 1982 using the DTA Program for Driver Improvement

...indicated a significant positive effect…The most significant analyses show a 65% reduction in violations for the DTA group while the control group's violations reduced only by .3%. (City of Dallas Study, page 22)

Ticketed accidents for the trained group were reduced by 55%, while ticketed accidents for the non-trained group were only reduced by 17%. (page 18)

Clearly, the Illinois and Texas defensive driving studies demonstrate that DTA's Program for Driver Improvement course is successful in reducing the number of fatalities and injuries resulting from traffic crashes. Yet these aren't the only studies to illustrate this point. Studies conducted by the State of New York have yielded similar findings.