Improving independence in driving for autistic adults

Challenges in community mobility can act as barriers to social inclusion for autistic individual. Driving is often difficult as it requires quick decisions and problem solving in response to road conditions and unpredictable traffic. There is currently a lack of understanding on how autistic learner drivers read and respond to traffic and hazards on the road. The problem is further confounded as there are currently no established standards in Australia for assessing driving behaviours.

The overall aim of this project is to address community mobility challenges experienced by young autistic adults. This project aims to design, pilot testing and evaluate the feasibility, appropriateness and effectiveness of an autistic driver training package in supporting learner drivers with autism to obtain a driver’s licence and maintain on-road safety.
Project Objectives
The overall aim of the proposed research is to address community mobility challenges experienced by young adults with ASD by designing, pilot testing and evaluating the feasibility, appropriateness and effectiveness of an ASD-specific driver training package in supporting learner drivers with ASD obtain a driver’s licence and maintain on-road safety. DRIVING PROJECT. The driving project will involve four studies. Each study will involve consultation with the research advisory group of adults with ASD established through Curtin University. The study aims are: Study 1: Scoping the literature and obtaining end-user and expert opinion:  Summarise current knowledge on the driving behaviours of learner drivers with ASD.  Identify and evaluate international and local resources that address the driving needs of people with ASD.  Understand end-user and stakeholder perspectives on the difficulties learner drivers with ASD encounter while learning to drive; the driving behaviours they exhibit; and the strategies they use to support safe driving behaviours. Study 2: Assess off- and on-road driving behaviours of learner drivers with ASD. Study 3: Develop and pilot test the feasibility and appropriateness of a driver training package containing ASD-specific on- and off-road training sessions in supporting learner drivers with ASD to obtain a driver’s licence and maintain on-road safety. Study 4: Test the effectiveness and appropriateness of the driver training package in:  Reducing the number of attempts learner drivers with ASD take to successfully obtain a provisional licence.  Reducing the number of face-to-face practice training sessions learner drivers with ASD require before obtaining a driver’s licence.  Improving driving behaviour, hazard perception skills and attitude to risk taking of learner drivers with ASD.  Improving learner drivers’ reflection on their driving. Based on the findings of Study 4 of the Driving project, the ASD-specific driver training package will be updated and packaged for release in the CRC.
Project Leader(s)
  • Hoe Lee, Curtin University
Research Program

Adulthood - Program 3