Driving errors, driving violations and accident involvement

Ergonomics (Impact Factor: 1.61). 10/2007; 38(5):1036-1048. DOI: 10.1080/00140139508925170

ABSTRACT A survey of over 1600 drivers is reported, the results of which are consistent with those reported in an earlier study (Reason et al. 1990), which identified a three-fold typology of aberrant driving behaviours. The first type, lapses, are absent-minded behaviours with consequences mainly for the perpetrator, posing no threat to other road users. The second type, errors, are typically misjudgements and failures of observation that may be hazardous to others. The third type, violations, involve deliberate contraventions of safe driving practice. In the present study the survey instrument used, the Driver Behaviour Questionnaire, was also shown to be reliable over time. Each type of behaviour was found to have different demographic correlates. Most importantly, accident liability was predicted by self-reported tendency to commit violations, but not by tendency to make errors or to have lapses. The implications for road safety are discussed.

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