By Lynette Shaw
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Extra resources for Accident Proneness. Research in the Occurrence, Causation, and Prevention of Road Accidents
If you have any faith at all in your testing methods—and you would not have proceeded to this stage if you had not—then it would take a very dedicated scientist—and one without any social conscience at that—to deliberately allow a man to handle one of the company vehicles with what amounted to foreknowledge that he might not only endanger his own life but the lives of other people. Under practical reality conditions, the third stage of such a study is therefore likely to be restricted to selecting only those subjects who pass the tests.
Even Greenwood's findings on the distribution of accidents in one period do not deserve the scorn with which they are so often treated. Since those early dafs a great many people have unwisely used a distribution of accidents in one single BEGINNINGS OF EMPIRICAL RESEARCH 33 period (as often as not without the proper controls over factors like exposure or risk) to "prove" the existence of accident proneness. But at the same time it should be noted that every study where it has been possible to impose strict controls has come up with distributions which are very, very different from chance; and that these distributions do seem to be one indication of unequal liability.
They immediately sent us a mimeographed book with full details and photographs of all their tests, which proved most helpful, and for which we have always been sincerely grateful. But I also remember only too clearly the admiration with which we regarded one of the tests, the Paris-style test for distractability and emotionality. This consisted of a cinema screen surrounded by various lights and buzzers to which the subject had to react in a prescribed fashion while watching a series of films, including one very passionate love scene!
Accident Proneness. Research in the Occurrence, Causation, and Prevention of Road Accidents by Lynette Shaw