Help Forum

Help requested posted on 17th September 2012:

Pledges (young drivers)

I am looking at other ways of finishing our Young Driver Education Programme rather than traditional happy face evaluation sheets - does anyone have any research on whether pledges contribute to behaviour change?

Rhiannon Leeds
Lancashire County Council

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Response posted on 17th September 2012 by:
Lindsey Simkins
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
T: 0121 248 2149


Hi Rhiannon

Kolb's experiential learning theory (1984) states that action is the key to development. Your young drivers should be planning how they are going to action their learning -trying out new coping strategies or alternative ways of driving for instance. This falls under Kolb's 'active experimentation' stage of the learning cycle. Thus pledges should help your young drivers think about what they're going to 'do' differently after the programme has finished - how they are going to actively try out their new ideas.

Response posted on 18th September 2012 by:
laura hurst
Cornwall Council
T: 01872 324942

behaviour change - pledging

Hi Rhiannon

Research does suggest pledging to engage in a behaviour increases the chance of that behaviour being adopted. See Cornwall's 'Young driver' report and Devon's 'Young drivers and passengers' reports (both on the knowledge centre) which discuss the evidence with regards to behavioural contracts. There has also been evidence in other health fields (addiction, obesity, teeth cleaning) that getting particpants to set a goal/behaviour intention increases the effectiveness of the behaviour change intervention. See Cornwall's Behaviour Change Techniques' report on the knowledge centre for more information. In Cornwall we now ask all participants of Learn 2 Live (young driver and passenger education programme) to set a personal goal after the programme.

hope this is helpful

Response posted on 19th September 2012 by:
Dave Lawson
Sheffield City Council
T: 0114 2736165


Hi Rhiannon

It's probably worth exploring the many uses of pledges in the health sector - e.g. Smoking cessation.

We looked at Cornwall's Behaviour Change Techniques document last year and made a first draft of rewriting with road safety in mind giving specific examples where possible. Not all the techniques are easily applied, many being more suited to longer term interventions, but it has triggered a revisit of how we design interventions. I can send a copy if you wish.

Response posted on 20th September 2012 by:
Gwyneth Redpath
Any other organisation
T: 028 70123456 ext 68168


An interesting book "Influence" by Robert Cialdini investigated the use of pledges on energy saving. He did research where responders were told that their names would be published in the paper as public spirited energy savers. Then they were told that this was no longer possible. The pledgers saved 12% of energy expenditure when they thought their names would be published and 14% AFTER they were told this would not happen. He theorises that people come to believe in themselves as public spirited on energy saving and this continues even after the publicity incentive is removed. Maybe a local newspaper would be willing to do an article or series of articles with you on this, with the names of pledgers being included and maybe some photos. This could help young drivers come to perceive themselves as safe drivers.

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