Data from a large study of novice drivers were analysed to determine the prevalence of accidents of different types, changes in rates of different types of accident over time and associations between accidents and driver characteristics. Brief accident descriptions provided by novice drivers over a three year period after passing the driving test were classified using a modified version of the system developed by West (1997). Shunts (rear end collisions) were the most common type of accidents, followed by right-of-way violations, loss-of-control accidents, then reversing accidents. Over the first three years there was a significant reduction in loss of control accidents, 'active' shunts (the reporting driver's vehicle hitting another from behind) and 'active' reversing accidents (the reporting driver's vehicle doing the reversing), but not right-of-way violations or passive shunts. Accidents as a whole and active shunts in particular were associated with 'inattentiveness', 'impatience', tendency to commit violations and fast driving, but not hesitancy and 'confidence'. The results provide a potentially useful basis for a training package aimed at learner drivers pointing out the risks of particular kinds of accident, the casual mechanisms involved, and a system for working out their own individual level of risk. (A)

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