"Passing the test" : a critical evaluation of formal driver education in South Africa.
Formal education education is an essential part in the process of teaching people how to drive. Driving schools are crucial as they are the educational institutions tasked with providing the relevant education that learners need in order to become competent drivers. Because this education is vital in driver socialisation, it has to be structured and carried out in a way that ensures maximum affectivity. This education is essential in ensuring that learners acquire all the relevant driving skills. The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the current formal driver education in South Africa - i.e. the K53 licensing system - in order to determine whether it can socialise learner drivers into being capable drivers. It has been argued in literature that young novice drivers are the most at risk with regard to motor vehicle accidents even though they have just received their formal driver education. They are most at risk because of their inexperience in driving, immaturity and risk-taking behaviour. For this reason the sample of the study consisted of new driver between the ages 18 and 23 with no more than 5 years experience. The study was conducted in Durban, South Africa. This study found that even though the respondents have driven for no more than five years 23% of them have already been involved in motor vehicle accidents where they were drivers since receiving their driving licences. Although a minority of these respondents reported being trained in most road and traffic conditions as well as in safety procedures (confirmed by driving school instructors), the types of accidents that they were involved in indicate that they were not able to use the information that they reportedly gained from driver training. This indicated that there is a problem with either what they were taught or how they were taught. A review of the K 53 licensing system by the Department of Transport found many flaws with the system, mainly with its design as well as loopholes that allowed driving schools to manipulate the process. shortcomings impact negatively on driver socialisation and driver behaviour thereafter.