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Franz-Dieter Schade, Hans-Jürgen Heinzmann, Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, Flensburg
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To determine whether the model "Accompanied driving from age 17" (AD17) contributes to improvement of young drivers' road safety, two large random samples of novice drivers drawn from the Central Register of Driving Licences (ZFER) held at the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) were compared in terms of the rates of accident involvement and traffic offences at the start of their solo driving career. The samples comprised former participants in the AD17 model and novice drivers of the same age who had obtained a driving licence in the conventional manner immediately after their 18th birthday. Both analysis groups were contacted by post and asked to complete an online questionnaire. In response, 19,000 drivers reported on their first year of solo driving and on the occurrence of any accidents or traffic offences during this period. The analyses were repeated with two “silent” analysis groups comprising a total of 75,000 drivers, for whom any records of traffic offences were retrieved from the Central Register of Traffic Offenders (VZR), with a distinction being made between offences in connection with an accident and other offences.
The AD17 model was introduced in all 16 German federal states between April 2004 and January 2008. By the end of 2009, almost one million novice drivers had participated in the model, and almost three-quarters of the target group – so-called "early beginners" who wished to commence solo driving immediately after reaching the age of 18 years – opted for the AD17 model. The phase of introduction of the model was associated with a temporary increase of around five per cent in the demand for driving licences from persons under 19 years of age.
During the first year of solo driving, the rate of accident involvement for AD17 participants was 19 per cent lower and the rate of traffic offences 18 per cent lower than for drivers of the same age who had obtained their driving licence in the conventional manner. After adjustment for confounds (exempli gratia. gender and vehicle availability), a reduction in accidents by 17 per cent and in traffic offences by 15 per cent remained as an effect attributable to the model. A comparison on the basis of the distances driven indicated 22 per cent fewer accidents and 20 per cent fewer traffic offences. The results are statistically significant and apply to both male and female drivers. The findings were confirmed in the replication study based on VZR data, with one exception: For female AD17 drivers, and here only for VZR-recorded offences excluding accidents, no significant reduction was found. On the other hand, the rate for female drivers is already lower than that of their male counterparts by three-quarters.
Approximately 1,700 injury accidents were prevented by implementation of the model in 2009.
Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen
51427 Bergisch Gladbach
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