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Can we use the cohort II data to explore the effects of taking pass plus?

Elliott, M.A. (2006) Can we use the cohort II data to explore the effects of taking pass plus? In: Behavioural research in road safety 2006. TRL, pp. 225-236. ISBN 1904763707

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Abstract

The Cohort II study sampled 8000 candidates taking their practical driving test in the UK with a practical questionnaire just after taking their practical driving test and experience questionnaires at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months after test pass. The use of this information to determine the effectiveness of the Pass Plus training scheme for new drivers was investigated. Pass Plus requires a minimum of six hours' training, though this may not necessarily be separate sessions. It consists of 6 modules covering town driving, all-weather driving, driving out of town, night driving, driving on dual carriageways and driving on motorways. The take-up rate for Pass Plus is currently around 16%. It is considered that the Cohort II data are not ideal for a study of Pass Plus as the data are not derived from an experimental study and are self-reported. Also, those members of the cohort taking Pass Plus are a self-selected group so it is not possible to use randomised controlled trials to evaluate the Cohort II data. A comparison of persons taking and not taking Pass Plus was made. With one exception there were no differences between those Cohort II respondents who took Pass Plus in the first six months of driving and those who did not in terms of their accident rates or driving behaviour. The exception was that Pass Plus drivers reported committing fewer aggressive driving violations than those who did not take Pass Plus. It is considered that the results should be treated with caution because of the possibility of volunteer bias. A trial where the Pass Plus intervention was mandatory in a given area and not another area would provide a proper controlled experimental design. For the covering abstract see ITRD E138063.