The attitudes and reported behaviours of novice drivers: results from the cohort II study

G.B. Grayson, M.A. Elliott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


It has long been known that young drivers are over-represented in accidents, and as a result have been a major focus of research and policy in traffic safety in the developed countries of the world for many years. More recently, research has shown that much of this problem is associated with inexperience, in that both younger and older new drivers have an elevated risk of accident involvement in the early stages of their driving careers (Maycock et al., 1991; Forsyth et al., 1995; Mayhew et al., 2000). The first investigation into the new driver problem on a large scale in this country was started in 1988 in the Cohort I study (Forsyth, 1992a, b; Forsyth et al., 1995; Maycock and Forsyth, 1997). Every person who took a driving test on one of four days (two in November 1988 and two in July 1989) was sent a questionnaire two weeks after taking the test. Information on accidents and offences was collected at annual intervals for the first three years of driving. In addition, surveys of attitudes and opinions were carried out at intervals over two years. The results of the Cohort I study provided valuable input to policy on driver training and testing. However, with the passage of time there have been changes to the training and testing regime, notably the introduction of a separate theory test, as well as changes to the practical test itself and in the legislation relating to new drivers. A Cohort II project has therefore been carried out in order to provide up-to-date information about
learner and novice drivers that can inform Department for Transport (DfT) policy.
The main objectives of the Cohort II study are:
• to look at performance in the driving test;
• to relate this to learning experiences;
• to assess attitudes to safety;
• to collect information on accidents/offences in early driving; and
• to monitor effects of changes to the training/testing regime.
This paper looks at results relating to just one of these objectives, and examines
changes in the attitudes and reported behaviours of new drivers over the first two
years after passing the practical test.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBehavioural research in road safety 2004
Subtitle of host publicationfourteenth seminar
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • attitudes
  • reported behaviours
  • novice drivers
  • cohort study


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