Search our website:

Close To – Peer Training of Learner Drivers by Offenders in Austria

Change Management

The co-production approach of the project is very simple and effective: Young offenders between 17-28 years old add to the theoretical training given in driving schools by telling their peers  in a very direct and authentic way how they caused an accident (in most cases under the influence of alcohol) and by using their own cases to point out the implications of risky driving. The fact that the offenders are of the same age and meet with their peers face-to-face during the driving tuition creates an emotional closeness between the offender and the driving school pupils. The principle of peer education means that young learners are directly confronted with the experiences of young offenders. This approach breaks down the normal distance between trainer and trainee – it holds up a mirror to the young drivers, in which they can see reflected their own behaviour, and its likely consequences.

The peer trainers tell about their experiences within a training unit provided by the driving schools: What happens to a young person who has caused serious injuries or even the death of a person?  Why did he/she drive under the influence of alcohol? What kind of judicial, economic and social consequences does he/she have to suffer? The peer trainer raises all of these issues by sharing his personal experiences with the learner drivers.

The recruitment of peer trainers,  who are often still serving their prison sentence, is often done through the courts. In other cases, offenders volunteer when they learn about the project in the media. Typically, the offenders have to attend a preparatory training programme, where they themselves learn how to deal with their accidents and its consequences. Afterwards, the offenders are helped to prepare their presentation, working together with a peer coach, before actually delivering the training to learner drivers.

In  the meantime, peer trainers are now also being recruited to work in vocational schools, training centres and companies. Since 2010 even the Austrian army has integrated peer trainers in its driving lessons for young recruits.  

About this case study
Main Contact

Robert Lang

Forschungsgesellschaft Mobilität FGM

Tel: +43 316810451 - 80



Andreas Pawelke provided Governance International with this case study on 22 June 2011.

Copyright © Governance International ®, 2010 -2021. All rights reserved