‘Cohort II’ was a major six-year study, funded by the Department for Transport, providing an up-to-date picture of how ‘cohorts’ of learner drivers in Great Britain undertake driver training and testing, and of their subsequent experiences as new drivers. It builds upon and further develops the evidence base from the smaller Cohort I study in 1988–89. The aims of the study were:
• to investigate how people learn to drive, including the number of hours of tuition and practice, and to compare this to outcomes from the theory and practical driving tests;
• to assess the impact of changes to the testing regime, specifically the hazard perception test which was introduced during the period of study;
• to explore new drivers’ experiences and attitudes to driving; and
• to identify their level of accident involvement over time.

It is important to note that, while associations have been established between many variables – for example, some variables associated with driver training and accident liability – these are not necessarily causal relationships. The sample initially comprised 42,851 learner drivers, however not all of these
passed their practical tests to be involved in the subsequent surveys of new drivers. The sample of new drivers in Cohort II varied from over 10,000 at six months after the practical test to just fewer than 2,000 at three years after taking the test.
Owing to differences in survey design and the sample composition of Cohort I and Cohort II it can, at some times, be difficult to make direct comparisons between the results. The Cohort II sample is markedly younger than the Cohort I sample has a higher proportion of female respondents, 63% and 55% respectively. However, where possible and indeed appropriate, this report highlights differences between the findings from the two studies, representing changes over time.

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