About the research
This study examines the effectiveness of the Iowa Driver Improvement Program (DIP), measured as the reduction in the number of driver convictions subsequent to the DIP. The analysis involved a random sample of 9,055 drivers who had been instructed to attend DIP and corresponding data on driver convictions, crashes, and driver education training history that were provided by the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division. The sample was divided into two groups based on DIP outcome: satisfactory or unsatisfactory completion. Two evaluation periods were considered: one year after the DIP date (probation period) and the period from the 13th to 18th month after the DIP date.
The evaluation of the Iowa DIP showed that there is evidence of effectiveness in terms of reducing driver convictions subsequent to attending the DIP. Among the 6,790 (75%) drivers who completed the course satisfactorily, 73% of drivers had no actions and 93% were not involved in a crash during the probation period. Statistical tests confirmed these numbers. However, the positive effect of satisfactory completion of DIP on survival time (that is, the time until the first conviction) was not statistically significant 13 months after the DIP date. Econometric model estimation results showed that, regardless of the DIP outcome, the likelihood of conviction occurrence and frequency of subsequent convictions depends on other factors, such as age, driver history, and DIP location, and interaction effects among these factors.
Low-cost, early intervention measures are suggested to enhance the effectiveness of the Iowa DIP. These measures can include advisory and warning letters (customized based on the driver?s age) sent within the first year after the DIP date and soon after the end of the probation period, as well as a closer examination of DIP instruction across the 17 community colleges that host the program. Given the large number of suspended drivers who continued to drive, consideration should also be given to measures to reduce driving while suspended offenses.