J.A.T. template series was designed 2006 by 4bp.de: www.4bp.de, www.oltrogge.ws
Standards for a Driver Risk-Management Program


Our life choices are consistently guided through recommendations, ratings and reviews. Who doesn’t check the star rating of a hotel before making arrangements for accommodations or check the rating of a movie before allowing a 13 year-old-child to attend? Even Consumer Reports guides us in our purchases of refrigerators and motor vehicles. Strangely enough, a parent may spend more money and time evaluating and selecting a refrigerator than on their choice of a driving program for their teen. Yet, for a novice driver to achieve a level of driving at which risk is manageable, an effective driver education experience is crucial.

Unfortunately, until recently, there was little criteria for what was considered acceptable low-risk driver performance. To bridge this immense gap in the field, the National Institute for Driver Behavior, a nonprofit organization, coordinated a collaborative effort to establish well-defined and measurable standards for a driver risk-management program.

One of the primary uses of these standards will be to assess current driver education programs and help guide them into developing the risk-prevention management programs of the future. It is our goal to raise the expectations of the driving industry through a comprehensive accreditation process. Establishing these high standards and using them to accredit programs enables the consumer to knowledgeably compare programs. Accreditation ratings can guide parents and guardians in their selection of a high-quality program for their teen driver. Such consumer empowerment encourages strong programs to become stronger, weak programs to strengthen and bad programs to disintegrate.

Raising standards overall in the traffic safety field also benefits individual programs by reducing costs. Well-organized curriculums, focused on reinforcing behaviors and knowledge, lead to more productive training sessions. This enables a school to better utilize instructional staffing. Lower costs and increased effectiveness benefit everyone.

These standards have been created to measure program performance and serve as a goal for the industry to strive towards. The accreditation process acknowledges that, initially, most schools will not fully satisfy all the standards; therefore, a point value system has been created. Each indicator carries a point value, some weighted more heavily than others, with a total value of approximately 8000 points. During this initial implementation stage, we will accept a score of 3000 for the accreditation.

Programs that have achieved accreditation may be advertised as such and will be posted on the National Institute’s website. For those schools who do not achieve 3000 points, but are willing to improve their program, they may be eligible for a pending accreditation. Furthermore, funding will be available, through a hardship application, for those programs unable to afford the accreditation fee.

 Ad-Hoc Standards Committee

This assembly of diverse representatives from 15 states and 3 countries came together to create the necessary components essential in a program to train safe, low-risk drivers. The result is the enclosed National Institute for Driver Behavior Standards for a Driver Risk-Management Program. On behalf of the National Institute for Driver Behavior, I would like to acknowledge and thank the following members of the ad-hoc committee. Their contributions provided depth and focus in our endeavor to raise the expectations of the driving industry.

-Frederik R. Mottola
 Executive Director, NIDB


Kim E. Alexander, MEd
Extension Assoc./Youth Ed. Specialist
Director, Cruisers Program
Clemson University

Douglas J. Annett
Skid Control School
Ontario, Canada

Cathy Bowles
Executive Director
Parent Line, Inc.

Gary Brelsford
General Manager
Spectrum Corp., Aerospace Mfg.
Milford, Connecticut

Barbara Brody, MEd
MN Highway Safety Center
St. Cloud State University

Lisa Lynn Carparelli
Director, Communications
New York Times Digital
New York, N.Y.

Steve Cramblitt
Driver Education Curriculum Specialist
Granite School District
Salt Lake City, Utah

Dr. Todd DeWolf
Clinical Psychologist
Andover, Connecticut

JoLeen Eiklenborg, M.A.Ed
Dir. of Driver and Traffic Safety Ed.
Comprehensive Health and
Bus Driver Certification
Waco, Texas

William G. Faraclas, Dr.P.H.
Professor and Chair
Department of Public Health
Southern Connecticut State University

Dr. Brian J. Finder, CIH
Assistant Professor
Risk Control Center
University of Wisconsin-Stout

Frederik R. Mottola
Executive Director
National Institute for Driver Behavior
Cheshire, Connecticut

Peter G. Neary
Safety and Facilities Director
Southern CT Gas Company
Orange, Connecticut

John W. Palmer, Ph. D
Professor Department of HPERSS
Dir. Minnesota Highway Safety Center
St. Cloud State University

Dave Patterson
Road Safety Manager
Manitoba Safety Council
Winnipeg, Canada

Susan Pierce
Driver Rehab Specialist
Adaptive Mobility Services, Inc.
Orlando, Florida
Barry Ford
Driver and Traffic Safety Ed. Consultant
Vermont Dept. of Education

Lou Gervino
The Road Safety Department
Manitoba Public Insurance
Winnipeg, Canada

Frank J. Gruber IV, Ph.D.
Department of Technology
College of Engineering
Northern Illinois University

John L. Harvey
Regional Traffic Safety Coordinator
Educational Service District 101
Spokane, Washington

Beverly A. Hite
Coord. for Student Leadership Programs
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky

Dan Keegan
CEO, Drivers.com

Rosemarie Kitchin
ABS Education Alliance
Research Triangle Park, NC

Terry L. Kline, Ed. D.
Eastern Kentucky University

Jeffrey F. Kochiss
Director of Operations
National Institute for Driver Behavior
Cheshire, Connecticut

James Lewis
HS Teacher of Traffic Safety Education
Past President of ADTSEA

David M. Money
Technical Dir.-Transportation Training
Liberty Mutual Group

Sergeant 775 Raphael D. Simons
Bermuda Police Service

Elizabeth Taylor
Driver Behavior Specialist
Program Director, NIFDB
Everett, Washington

Lois Teesdale
Supervising Editor
Prentice Hall
Glenview, Illinois

Randall R. Thiel, Ph.D.
Wisconsin State Consultant
Dept. Public Instruction
Madison, Wisconsin

 Standards for a Driver Risk-Management Program



A. Administration of Program


Curriculum is available and in use during all training phases.


Curriculum meets NIDB or ADTSEA standards.


Curriculum is consistent with the "Minimum Standards: Driving Behaviors For Risk Prevention" as formulated by NIDB or ADTSEA. (See Driving Standards)


Lesson plans are clearly written with student centered activities.


A minimum of 45 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours behind-the-wheel training or an acceptable alternative format is required.


The program cannot be completed in less than 8 weeks.


Classroom sessions are no longer than two hours and limited to one session per day.


A minimum of two and a maximum of four students are present during any in-vehicle session.


A maximum of one hour behind the wheel is established for any student during an in-vehicle session.


A maximum of two hours is established for any in-vehicle session.


A maximum of two of the eight required hours behind the wheel may occur each week.


Sessions are scheduled at one week intervals to provide the opportunity for mental growth and driving practice with the parents or tutors.


All training phases are integrated and concurrently experienced on a per module basis.


All modules are introduced during classroom sessions and reinforced during all training phases.


All modules consist of concepts that are structured and presented in simple to complex building blocks.


A student cannot progress to the next module of instruction until he/she reaches a certain level of proficiency.


The program coordinates in-vehicle activities with parent or tutor sessions.


The curriculum integrates educational modules into earlier grade levels and builds upon concepts learned in other disciplines.


There is an opportunity for students to participate in additional post-licensing training.


B. Teacher / Instructor Qualification


Instructors are certified through programs accredited by ADTSEA, NIDB or according to other national standards.


Instructor training includes advanced skills and vehicle technology.


Instructors are able to assess students’ internalized behavioral patterns.


Instructors have attended a traffic safety conference or workshop within the last three years and participate in other forms of ongoing professional development.


Instructors have received initial or advanced training within the past ten years.


The instructor’s skills are documented and periodically reviewed by the program supervisor.


Instructors are able to progress from an in-car apprentice to a master classroom instructor.


Instructors are stimulating, friendly and capable of engaging students in meaningful activities.


Instructors model positive driving behaviors.


Instructors have effective communication skills.


All staff members are consistent regarding the driving behaviors taught.


Instructors are capable of assessing and observing appropriate student behavior.


C. Classroom Standards


The classroom curriculum prepares students for achievements in: Social Wellness, Visual Skills for Awareness, Information-processing and Decision- making, Risk Prevention Management, Vehicle Control, Vehicle Correction Skills and Performance Excellence.


The development and habitualization of behavioral patterns is emphasized.


All driving skills are introduced and practiced through hands-on classroom training to ensure in-car success.


During the initial course, students also learn driving skills often referred to as advanced, such as skid prevention, detection and correction, as well as, off-road recovery.


A high level of student interaction is maintained through a multitude of student-centered activities.


Numerous classroom opportunities are provided to perfect driving behaviors.


Students learn how to evaluate driving situations and make low-risk decisions.


Risk versus gain relationships associated with driving are defined and explored.


Risk perception, prevention and management is presented as a function of time and space control.


A space management system is effectively learned to aid in the development of positive driving habits.


Activities are utilized to promote effective student involvement in risk management and problem solving.


Activities are constructed to enable students to demonstrate and model specific behavioral patterns.


Students learn how behavioral, sociological and psychological factors influence driving.


The physiological and psychological effects of alcohol and other controlled substances, including nicotine and caffeine, on driver performance are explored.


The societal impact of alcohol upon one’s personal life, family and workplace is explored.


The effects of fatigue and other physical impairments on driver performance are studied.


Conflict resolution skills are presented in relation to on-road situations.


Activities are conducted to demonstrate the problems associated with driver inattentiveness.


Activities are conducted to help students recognize the stages of anger and how to manage them.


Various forms of technology and media are used to reinforce driver behavioral patterns.


Students learn how to positively influence their peers and how to avoid negative peer influence.


Students learn the value of occupant protection and vehicle readiness.


Students learn about new car technology and acquire methods for gaining information about future technology.


Classroom activities demonstrate the importance of a student's responsibility both as a citizen and a driver.


Students understand the laws and rules of the road and their liability as drivers.


Students participate in activities to learn the limitations of motor vehicles and of drivers.


D. In-Vehicle Standards


The development of driver behavioral patterns is reinforced.


Sessions include effective backseat student involvement structured with two or three students per group.


Simulated distraction activities are conducted to encourage student attentiveness.


Legal and social aspects of driving are incorporated into sessions.


Mass practice is provided initially when a behavior or task is first practiced in the vehicle.


After initial mass practice, there is subsequent and distributed practice of each behavior.


Route plans are structured and used to effectively experience behavioral patterns and to demonstrate various driving situations and circumstances.


Structured route plans include limited access highway driving.


Vehicle skid prevention, detection and correction skills are experienced using hands-on training.


The student is sufficiently prepared to demonstrate the correct modeling of driving behaviors for the teacher.


Advanced driver training concepts are included during regularly scheduled lessons.


E . Simulator Standards


Content is presented with an emphasis on behavioral patterns rather than on task completion.


The simulator reinforces previous learning and continues to prepare student for in-vehicle training.


The simulator acts as a tool to monitor and measure the effectiveness of student learning in the classroom to ensure student vehicle readiness.


Simulators are functional and capable of achieving instructional objectives.


F . Multiple-Vehicle Driving Range Standards


An effective buddy system is used in which one student becomes a student-teacher.


Learning emphasis is placed on the correct demonstration of behaviors rather than on task completion.


Students learn how to avoid and perform advanced driving skills such as off-road recovery, skid prevention, detection and correction and evasive steering and braking.


G. Evaluation of Program Effectiveness


The program is evaluated using written materials that are based on observable actions.


The formation of a student's risk-prevention habits is evident.


The student's performance of key behavioral patterns is mastered by the conclusion of the course.


There is strong evidence that parent and tutor practice sessions are integrated throughout the course.


Contact with a parent or tutor regarding a student's progress during the course is consistent.


Reviews of teacher competence reflect an adherence to the curriculum objectives.


Evaluation sheets are completed by all students and parents at the conclusion of the course and retained for a minimum of 5 years.


Former students demonstrate a utilization of risk-prevention behaviors as evident in their driving records and by the results of tests conducted by the NIDB accreditation staff.


Former students, when surveyed, make favorable comments about training received.


H. Facilities


Classrooms are clean, safe and maintain a comfortable climate.


Classrooms and/or resource centers are available to students outside of class time.


Vehicles used on the street are no older than 5 years and equipped with a dual control brake, instructor's rearview mirror and eye check mirror, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and student driver signs.


Vehicles are well maintained, inspected annually, properly equipped and properly insured.


I. Instructional Materials


Instructional materials are curriculum appropriate and available to all students.


Textbooks and videos are effective and relevant resources used to enhance the curriculum.


A variety of materials including power point, videos, transparencies and demonstration props are utilized.


J. Parental Involvement


Communication with the parents and tutors is evident.


A mandatory parent and tutor orientation session is held during the first week of the program.


Parents and tutors receive instruction on how to remain calm, give commands, keep the car in control, and provide positive feedback when conducting in-vehicle practice with their teens.


Parents and tutors model positive driving behaviors as defined in publications such as those from NIDB, ADTSEA and AAA.


Parents and tutors have access to in-car support materials defining what to focus on and when to practice and they maintain a driving log of their practice sessions.


Workshops are provided for parents, tutors, teens and community members.


K. Support within Community


There is evidence that the program has community involvement.


Driver education is seen and presented as a life skill.


There is evidence of legislation supporting driver education.


Graduated licensing laws are in existence and are educationally effective.


There is strong evidence of public relations to promote the risk-prevention behaviors of the program.


Risk management behaviors are taught in early childhood grades and reinforced in the program.



Driver Behavior

Minimum Standards

1.0 Basic Skills and Behaviors



1.1 Getting Ready to Drive

  • Approach the vehicle with awareness.
  • Check outside and inside the vehicle before opening the door.
  • Windows up, lock doors.
  • Push butt into seat, then sit up straight.
  • If needed: adjust head restraints, seat, mirrors, and steering wheel tilt.
  • Make certain all occupants have safety belts on.
  • Be able to demonstrate effective meaning and usage of all gauges.

1.2 Acceleration

  • Put the vehicle into motion smoothly.
  • See open space to enter before moving foot from brake to gas.
  • On moving turns, accelerate when within 45 degrees of being on target.

1.3 Braking

  • Place heel of foot on floor aligned to brake pedal with ball of foot on pedal.
  • Use controlled braking efficiently without locking wheels.
  • When beginning to apply the brake:
            - check the rearview mirror.
            - apply the greatest braking force at beginning of braking process.
  • Bring the vehicle to a smooth stop. (Release slight pressure during last two seconds of braking to ease car pitch.)
  • Check the rear zone before, during, and after taking a braking action.
  • Demonstrate effective use of maximum ABS braking.

1.4 Steering

  • Use a balanced hand position on the wheel 9-3 or lower. Knuckles and thumbs on outside of wheel.
  • Use the hand-over-hand or the push-pull method effectively.
  • Before turning the steering wheel:
            - turn your head in the direction of intended travel.
            - check the mirrors and blind spots.

1.5 Securing the Vehicle

  • Set parking brake and shift into Park before removing foot from brake.
  • Turn accessories and headlights off, check before opening door, lock doors.

2.0 Vehicle Judgement to Roadway

2.1 Right Side of Vehicle

  • Determine within 3-6 inches where on the road the right side of vehicle is positioned.

2.2 Left Side of Vehicle

  • Determine within 3-6 inches where on the road the left side of vehicle is positioned.

2.3 Front of Vehicle

  • Determine within 3-6 inches where on the road the front bumper of vehicle is positioned.

2.4 Rear of Vehicle

  • Determine within 3-6 inches where on the road the rear bumper of vehicle is positioned.

3.0 Visualization of Intended Travel Path

3.1 Target

  • Identify a stationary object in the center of your intended travel path.

3.2 Target Area

  • Identify the traffic elements at, to the left, and to the right of the target.
  • Locate your target area, evaluate it’s condition, determine best approach speed and best lane positioning.

3.3 Targeting Path

  • After evaluating the target area, visualize your targeting path.
  • Identify elements that change or can change the intended travel path.

4.0 Searching Intended Travel Path

4.1 Target Area to Target Area Searching

  • Search to the target area to determine condition; re-evaluate immediate path.
  • Search for Line-of-Sight and/or Path-of-Travel (LOS-POT) changes that can or do affect your approach to the target area.
  • When you arrive at the target area, search for your new target area.

4.2 Effective Use of Three Searching Ranges

  • Know how to judge space in seconds.
  • First search to target area as stated above, then...
  • Search at least 12 seconds ahead, reevaluate the 4-second immediate path of travel.
  • Visualize the space your vehicle will occupy at least 12-15 seconds ahead.
  • Reevaluate your immediate 4-second path of travel before entering.

4.3 Detect Changes to LOS-POT

  • Identify a deterioration in the ability to see or maintain a travel path.
  • When a zone change affecting your LOS-POT is seen, check other zones for additional information and for an alternate path of travel.

4.4 Identify Open or Closed Zones

  • Evaluate intended driving path as to an open or closed condition to your line of sight and your path of travel.

4.5 Searching Intersections

  • When approaching an intersection, look for open left, front, and right zones.
  • Before entering an intersection, search the left, front, and right zones to see if they are open.

4.6 Searching Into Curves and Over Hills

  • When the target area is a curve or a hill crest, search through the curve or over the hill crest for the status of your path of travel (Ask yourself if POT is open or closed).
  • Before entering a curve or a hill crest, search into or over it to evaluate your path of travel.

5.0 Speed Control

5.1 Selection For Ongoing Conditions

  • Travel speed should be based upon the speed limit, environmental conditions and LOS-POTs.

5.2 After Seeing Changes In Path Of Travel

  • Avoid using any unnecessary acceleration into a closed zone.
  • When you see a red light or stopped traffic, reduce speed to arrive into an open zone.

5.3 After Seeing Changes in Line Of Sight

  • When your ability to see others that may enter your path is reduced, lower speed.

5.4 After Seeing A Speed Limit Sign

  • Let it serve as a cue to check the speedometer and other vehicle gauges.

6.0 Lane Selection

6.1 Select The Best Lane

  • For legal requirements and for destination.

6.2 Lane Position Usage While Driving Straight Ahead

  • Select a lane position to give best separation from problems.

6.3 Lane Position Usage While Approaching Curves and Hill Crests

  • Establish the best position on approach, at apex, and while exiting.

7.0 Rear Zone Searching and Control

7.1 Inside Mirror Usage

  • Search to the rear after seeing a change to your LOS-POT.
  • Search to the rear before and after making a turn or a stop.

7.2 Outside Mirror Usage

  • Check the side before turning the steering wheel in that direction.

7.3 Over-Shoulder Checks and Convex Mirrors

  • Check after using the sideview mirror and before turning the steering wheel.
  • Check before changing lateral positioning.

7.4 Evaluate Condition to Rear

  • Determine if the rear is open, closed, or unstable.
  • When a tailgater is present, determine which type.

8.0 Following Time and Space

8.1 Closure Rate On Approach

  • Approach vehicle in front gradually. Avoid a fast closure rate.

8.2 Moving At Same Speed

  • When following another vehicle, keep at least four seconds of space.

8.3 When Stopped –– See the Tires

  • When stopped in back of a vehicle, be able to see its rear tires touching the pavement.

8.4 Before Moving –– Delay Start 2 Seconds

  • After the vehicle is front begins to move, delay your movement for two seconds.

9.0 Communication and Courtesy

9.1 Technique

  • Signal light on before turning or moving to another lateral position.
  • Headlights on at all times.
  • Use horn in a timely manner to make others aware of your presence.
  • Tap brake lights to warn rear traffic of a slowdown or stop in the traffic flow.
  • Use vehicle’s speed and position to effectively send a message.
  • Hand signals used effectively and courteously.

9.2 Timing

  • Put signal light on at least 5 seconds before turning or lane changing.
  • Give communications time to be sent, received, and acted upon.
  • Communicate early so that your safe path-of-travel is not dependent upon it.

9.3 Commitment

  • Make sure your messages are acknowledged by others.

10.0 The ABC’s of Risk Management

10.1 Step A. Alert switch turned on: See a change to your Line Of Sight

  • Look for what may no longer make your intended path-of-travel available or safe.

10.2 Step B. Before acting: After seeing a LOS-POT change, check your other zones

  • Look for related information.
  • Look for alternate path of travel.
  • Get all information before acting.

10.3 Step C. Create best control: Get the best speed control, lane position and communication

10.4 Use a Practice Commentary to help develop the system into habit.

  • Start with an okay speed and position for conditions.
  • Look for one LOS-POT zone change.
  • Say and use the ABC steps to gain best zone control.
  • Repeat the process for 10-20 minutes at time until formed into habit.


J.A.T. template series was designed 2006 by 4bp.de: www.4bp.de, www.oltrogge.ws