Friday, January 23, 2009

Risk Behavior among Younger Drivers

Accident Analysis & PreventionVolume 41, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 25-35

The role of risk-propensity in the risky driving of younger drivers
Julie Hatfield, a, and Ralston Fernandesa,
aNSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre, The University of NSW, NSW 2052, Australia
Young drivers are over-represented in road injury statistics, partly because they engage in more risky driving than older people. Although it is assumed that younger people have greater risk-propensity, defined as a positive attitude to risk, relevant theory is imprecise and relevant research is clouded by inappropriate measures. 89 participants aged 16–25 and 110 participants aged over 35 were recruited outside motor registries. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires including Rohrmann’s [Rohrmann, B. 2004. Risk attitude scales: concepts and questionnaires. Project report. Available at (last accessed 12th February 2008)] measures of risk-aversion, risk-propensity, and risk-related motives for risky driving, as well as measures of risk-perception and risky driving. Compared to older drivers, younger drivers demonstrated lower risk-aversion, and higher propensity for taking accident risks, as well as stronger motives for risky driving in relation to experience-seeking, excitement, sensation-seeking, social influence, prestige-seeking, confidence/familiarity, underestimation of risk, irrelevance of risk, “letting off steam”, and “getting there quicker”. Further, these variables were associated with risky driving. Some evidence was observed for the possibility that risk propensity moderates the relationship between perceived risk and risky behaviour. These results suggest approaches to targeting the “young driver problem”.


BrooklynDodger(s) comment: Most injury control studies are related to traffic rather than occupational studies. AAP is a leading journal. The Dodger(s) believe(s) that in general, injury control schemes based on attention state, risk perception, reaction time, judgement of exposed persons are doomed to limited success without higher levels of controls. Nevertheless, interest in the role of attitudes remains high. Extending traffic related risks to broader occupational risks is problemmatic because the environment and equipment are subject to such limited controls. The Dodger(s) question(s) the limits of attitude intervention when drivers of all ages brag about speeding and beating tickets or getting home safe DWP (driving while plowed.)

This investigation is culturally bound by Australian society, not known for risk adversion or introversion.

The Dodger(s) confess to failing to read the full text to find the definition of self reported "risky driving" which is the key endpoint in this paper. The correlation between motives and attitudes seems confounded, but reported risk actions is of value.

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