One of the main objectives of driver testing is to ensure that new drivers are competent to drive safely. The present report reviews the information that is currently available relating to the accidents novice drivers experience in the first few years of driving, the circumstances of these accidents, and a range of characteristics of the drivers themselves which might be indicative of ways the driving test might be improved. The review considers the role of demographic factors, such as age and experience, in accidents and considers the reasons for the fact that, whilst accident liabilities decrease with age and women have a lower accident liability than men, women and older drivers find passing the test more difficult. The characteristics of young novice driver accidents are compared with those of accidents involving older drivers. Young drivers (of both sexes) have a higher proportion of accidents in the evenings and early monrnings, many of which are single-vehicle accidents. This feature of young driver accidents is likely to be due to exposure effects and may have more relevance to driver training and exposure post-test than to the test itself. The distribution of accidents by type of junction or manoeuvre being executed at the time of an accident are tabulated, but comparisons by age group do not provide additional insights of relevance to improvements in the driving test. A range of human factors aspects of drivers' experiences such as contributory factors in accidents, blameworthiness, active versus passive accidents, and drivers' opinions about a range of driving issues are also presented in this review. The beliefs and attitudes which are characteristic of young drivers - notably a tendency to violate traffic rules - are strong predictors of accidents and further consideration as to whether it might be possible or acceptable to find ways of using such assessments during the learning process could be worthwhile. (A)

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