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Post-pandemic road safety training: online but not solitary

Online driver training can be effective, but only if carefully designed to avoid boredom and distraction, according to a report by the Parliament Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) and Nottingham Trent University.

A man takes part in an online learning session with a group of people on his laptop screen
The report outlines the challenges and opportunities for effective online road safety training

Presenting online as if trainees are in the same room does not work, the report says. For the best outcomes ‘super rich’ online learning environments need the course length, group size, interactive elements and more to be just right.

The authors, members of PACTS Road User Behaviour working party, have drawn together knowledge from the last three years to show their understanding of the changes involved in new ways of training. They outline the challenges instructors can face when teaching online – such as avoiding distracting virtual backgrounds and encouraging interaction with trainees via a quiz and informal chat. Instructor feedback should also be carefully managed: being criticised in your own home is more threatening than in a classroom.

Despite Covid restrictions having been eased, the benefits of online training are clear, and many providers are still using in it. This report should be a first stop for those in the driver training industry.

Lead researcher, Professor David Crundall, Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences, said “While the rapid shift to online delivery has been largely successful, it is vital that driver safety courses are effective and engaging to improve road safety. This is the first time that specific driver training guidance for virtual learning has been published and we hope that it addresses any challenges that trainers and organisers have faced since the pandemic.”

PACTS Executive Director Jamie Hassall said, “Effective training is vital so people who drive can understand how to play their part in a safe transport system. This report, written by professionals from across PACTS wide range of membership organisations, clearly lays out the way for best delivery of online training. PACTS are grateful for their contribution to our growing library of research.”

Read the full report online: Shifting face-to-face driving safety training online: current understanding and best practice

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email.

    For more information, please contact Professor David Crundall ( or Jamie Hassall ( Digital assets are available upon request, please contact Matthew Ferguson at

    About PACTS
    The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) was formed in 1982 by parliamentarians and experts from a range of disciplines who had amended what became the Transport Act 1981 to make seat belt wearing compulsory.

    Today, PACTS is the only NGO which:

    • addresses transport safety (road, rail and air) across the UK;
    • focuses on parliament, government and key stakeholders;
    • has a wide membership base across the modes and the public, private and third sectors;
    • has no commercial or sectional interests.

    It provides the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety.

    PACTS is a founder member of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and continues to be one of its most active members.

    More details about PACTS can be found on the PACTS website:

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.

    NTU was awarded The Times and The Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023 and ranked University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023. It was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards), University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with approximately 40,000 students and more than 4,400 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 7,000 and an NTU community representing over 160 countries.

    Since 2000, NTU has invested £570 million in tools, technology, buildings and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2021 UCAS UG acceptance data). It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was the first UK university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

    NTU is ranked the second most sustainable university in the world in the 2022 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

Published on 5 June 2023
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Social Sciences