I have only been climbing for about two years. I was climbing sport routes and felt the pull towards trad climbing. I read loads of books on trad and then went on a course with Cape Town School of Mountaineering. (http://www.climbing.co.za/dirTraining.asp
) The course was really good because it just upped my confidence. It makes you feel a bit better about the gear you are placing when you have someone who knows what they are doing check how you place protection. Richard also covered some stuff on self rescue which is a bit difficult to learn by yourself from books. It makes much more sense when you dangle your partner over the ledge and learn how to safely hoist them. I agree with Justin, trad is as safe as you make it. Stuff happens on the mountains and you can't plan for everything, but you can learn how to minimise the risks. Sport is nice for pushing your limits, trad is great for just being outdoors and enjoying the mountain. Getting into trad is definitely worth it.