Mercedes-Benz commissioned the present study in order to investigate the magnitude and nature of the road risk of young car passengers in the Netherlands, and to assess the effects of the RoadSense programme on their behavioural intentions and opinions. Using questionnaires, a before and after study without a control group, was carried out among 317 participants in the programme. These questionnaires were administered just before and immediately after participants had attended RoadSense. The results showed a significant number of young passengers to be exposed to dangerous driving, mostly speeding. Young males engaged more frequently in dangerous behaviour and also held more risky opinions than girls did. Also, youngsters who had been passengers with a drunk driver, expressed more risky opinions. After having completed the RoadSense course, participants had improved their behavioural intentions and opinions. The programme did not have an 'extra' effect on the high-risk groups, such as young males. However, such an extra effect was present in the group who had been riding with a drunk driver. The implications of the findings for programme development were discussed, whereby the limitations of the present study were taken into account. It was recommended to strengthen the programme's impact on high-risk groups, especially on young male passengers, to explore the theme of peer pressure, and to involve parents. To assess the effects on safety, an evaluation is required of the long-term effects of the programme on actual behaviour. Such an evaluation should not solely include a pre- and post-test but also include a control group.
RoadSense: a success?
Effects on behavioural intention and opinions