Drivers of A-tractors are followed for several years

A-traktor on snowy road n winter.
Photo: Sirpa Ukura/ Mostphotos

Will drivers of A-tractors and moped cars become better or worse drivers compared to those who lack that experience when they obtain a driving licence for a passenger car? How are their behaviours and attitudes affected in relation to the other group? These are the main questions in a new five-year research project at VTI.

In the project “From EPA-tractor to Passenger Car. A longitudinal study of road safety and driving behaviour”, researchers at VTI will try to answer the question as to how the experience of driving a moped car or A-tractor affects knowledge and behaviour in traffic. This is compared to those who did not drive a four-wheeled motor vehicle before taking a category B licence. The project has just started and will end in November 2028.

“We have a hypothesis that young people who have driven an A-tractor may be better drivers than those who have not. The reason would be the experience and habits gained of driving a motor vehicle,” says Helena Selander, senior researcher and project manager for the new study.

“On the other hand, they are usually self-taught and may have brought with them bad habits from the time they drove an A-tractor or moped car. So there can be both pros and cons, which can go both ways.”

The study is carried out partly in the form of a register study where the results of driving tests, involvement in accidents, traffic violations and traffic offences are compared between young drivers with and without experience of driving an A-tractor or moped car.

In a planned questionnaire study, where young people are monitored over several years, development, maturity, attitudes, and risk behaviour over time and between the two groups are also investigated and compared. The questionnaire will be supplemented with in-depth interviews with young people between the ages of 15 and 20 who have been involved in a minor or serious accident.

“We’ve been working with these young drivers for a while and have actually been quite alarmed when we hear what can happen on the road. There are many problems and factors that need to be investigated further. On the other hand, many young people behave well in traffic, and for them, the A-tractor can mean a lot for their mobility, independence and learning how to operate a motor vehicle,” says Helena Selander.

The Swedish Transport Administration’s Research and Innovation portfolio Enable is funding the project. A reference group linked to the project includes representatives from the Swedish Police, Länsförsäkringar, STR (the Swedish Association of Driving Training Providers), Transportstyrelsen (the Swedish Transport Agency) and Trafikverket (the Swedish Transport Administration).

Text: Mikael Sönne

Translation: CBG

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