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Evaluation of the safety benefits of the risk awareness and perception training program for novice teen drivers.
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    Risk awareness and perception training program for novice teen drivers.
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    This project evaluated the impact of the PC-based Risk Awareness and Perception Training (RAPT) program on young driver crashes and traffic violations. Young drivers 16 to 18 years of age were recruited immediately after they passed the on-road driving exam at six California Department of Motor Vehicles licensing offices. Participants were assigned to a group that completed the RAPT program or to a comparison group that received a pre-test but did not receive any training. A total of 5,251 young drivers participated in the project and had their crash and violation records tracked for 12 months post-licensure. An analysis of group equivalency revealed the group assignment paradigm was effective in producing equivalent groups. Analyses of pre-test and post-test data included in the RAPT program showed substantial improvements in trainee performance, which suggests participants attended to the training materials. Crash analyses did not show an overall main effect for treatment, but there was a significant treatment by sex interaction effect. Analyses were then conducted for males and females separately to explore this interaction. The results showed a significant treatment effect for males, χ2 (1, n = 2743) = 5.517, p =.019, but not for females χ2 (1, n = 2447) = 0.553 p = .457. RAPT-trained males showed an approximately 23.7% lower crash rate relative to the male comparison group. For females, the RAPT group had an estimated 10.7% higher crash rate than the comparison group, but this increase was not statistically significant. Researchers used Cox regression analysis to evaluate the number of weeks after licensure at which each studied driver had their first crash (time to first crash). None of the overall models were statistically significant. Thus, the hypothesis that RAPT had an effect on time to first crash could not be confirmed. None of the analyses of traffic violations demonstrated any association with the RAPT treatment. The results of this study provide perhaps the first encouraging evidence that brief, computerbased training interventions can have a positive influence on driving safety for newly licensed teen drivers. Further research is needed to clarify the uncertainties arising from this study, particularly related to the lack of effectiveness of RAPT on female crash rates, and to assess how best to employ hazard perception training using a program such as RAPT in the driver training process.

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