Article

Stability of risky driving from late adolescence to early adulthood

Authors:
  • Career break (formerly Australian Institute of Family Studies & Deakin University)
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Abstract

This study examined the stability of risky driving behaviour from late adolescence to early adulthood among 823 young Australian drivers participating in an ongoing longitudinal study. This issue was explored by examining the stability of risky driving between the ages of 19-20 and 23-24 years (1) across the cohort and (2) among individuals. Focusing on cohort-wide trends, a modest reduction in the occurrence of speeding was observed across the sample between 19-20 and 23-24 years. However, drink-driving increased markedly over this period, and driving without a seatbelt or helmet for part of a trip also rose. Rates of other risky driving behaviours remained relatively unchanged. With regard to trends among individuals, while a decrease was evident in the risky driving propensities of many who had been classified as moderate or high risky drivers at age 19-20, 48% of the former group, and 77% of the latter group, still exhibited risky driving tendencies at 23-24 years. Together, these findings suggest a fair degree of stability in risky driving from late adolescence to early adulthood among this sample of Australian youth, highlighting the continuing need for road safety initiatives targeting young drivers beyond their first years of licensure.

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... Hence, lower vulnerability to the negative influence of young passengers, who may encourage young drivers to take risks behind the wheel, may also contribute to a reduction in risky driving over this period (Scott-Parker et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2007). While the majority of young people appear to " grow out " of their risky driving tendencies, for a small number, this behavior appears more entrenched, persisting beyond their first years of driving (Begg and Langley, 2004; Vassallo et al., 2014), and others become riskier with age (Vassallo et al., 2014). Few studies have investigated these less normative patterns of risky driving. ...
... Hence, lower vulnerability to the negative influence of young passengers, who may encourage young drivers to take risks behind the wheel, may also contribute to a reduction in risky driving over this period (Scott-Parker et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2007). While the majority of young people appear to " grow out " of their risky driving tendencies, for a small number, this behavior appears more entrenched, persisting beyond their first years of driving (Begg and Langley, 2004; Vassallo et al., 2014), and others become riskier with age (Vassallo et al., 2014). Few studies have investigated these less normative patterns of risky driving. ...
... A brief overview of the limited research follows. Previous research from the current longitudinal study (the Australian Temperament Project), investigated the stability of risky driving behavior from the ages of 19–20 to 23–24 years (Vassallo et al., 2014). This study found that almost two-thirds of young drivers (62%) displayed similar levels of risky driving at both timepoints , with 20% showing a decrease between 19–20 and 23–24 years, and a further 19% reporting an increase over this time span. ...
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The risky driving tendencies of young drivers has been extensively researched, but much less is known about across-time patterns of risky driving behavior and the factors which influence these. This study identified factors associated with stable, increasing and decreasing risky driving trajectories among 751 Australian drivers participating in an ongoing longitudinal study. Five groups were formed on the basis of participants' patterns of risky driving from 19-20 to 27-28 years (i.e., stable low-risk, stable speeding, stable high-risk, increasing and decreasing). Very few participants exhibited a stable high-risk pattern. Characteristics that differentiated the different across-time groups were identified using Multinomial Logistic Regression. The most consistent correlates of risky driving patterns were antisocial behavior, binge drinking and relationship status. Sex, school completion, temperament, civic engagement, and antisocial peer friendships were also correlated with different across-time patterns. The implications of these findings for road safety are discussed.
... Different psychological characteristics have been studied as correlates of risky driving in novice drivers. Personality traits, especially such as sensation seeking, impulsivity, and aggressiveness (Berdoulat, Vavassori, & Sastre, 2013;Ge, Qu, Jiang, Du, Sun, & Zhang, 2014;Harris et al., 2014;Poó & Ledesma, 2013;Yang, Du, Qu, Gong, & Sun, 2013), positive attitudes towards risky driving (Cacciabue, 2007;Isler, Starkey, & Sheppard, 2008;Ram & Chand, 2015), low resistance to peer influence (Møller & Haustein, 2014;Shope, 2006;Shope, Raghunathan, & Patil, 2003), or poor ability to deal with own emotions (Berdoulat et al., 2013;Trógolo, Melchior, & Medrano, 2014) were found to be important contributors to the increased risk of traffic rules violations or accidents in this group of drivers. However, most authors confirmed the first 6 or 12 months of independent driving to be a crucial period for road accident involvement and traffic rules violations because of insufficient driving experience and overestimation of own driving skills (Baughan, Sexton, Simpson, Chinn, & Quimby, 2006;Borowsky & Shinar, & Oron-Gilad, 2010;Boufous, Ivers, Senserrick, & Stevenson, 2011;de Winter, 2013;Redshaw, 2005;Scott-Parker et al., 2014). ...
... On the other hand, further skill training due to more frequent driving after being licenced might lead to increased driving self-confidence. Thereby novice drivers overestimate their abilities to manage challenging road situations and develop limited hazard perception skills that might contribute significantly to increased accident involvement and intentional traffic rules violations too (Baughan et al., 2006;Starker & Isler, 2016;Vassallo et al., 2014). ...
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Novice drivers are considered as the riskiest group of drivers due to caused accidents and injuries related to inexperience and propensity to take risks on the road. Thus, prospective analysis of importance of driving learning history for the novice drivers' future involvement in traffic violations or road accidents is extremely encouraged. This study is aimed to evaluate the importance of learning to drive experience and driving test (theory and on-road) performance for the prediction of objective traffic rules violations and later accident involvement in Lithuanian novice drivers. 598 learner drivers who obtained their driving licence for the first time participated in the longitudinal study. Information concerning their learning to drive experience before taking driving test, theory test and on-road driving test performance was obtained in the first stage of the study. Later information on the number of recorded traffic offenses committed by participants and number of accidents during the first year of their independent driving was obtained from the police records. The results showed that worse driving theory test performance, but not on-road driving test performance was related to the fact of being fined for traffic rules violations. While age and experience of learning to drive were not important predictors of being a traffic offender. Gender and length of independent driving were also important predictors for later traffic violations. This research was funded by a grant from the Research Council of Lithuania (grant No. GER-005/2015).
... While the period of adolescence marks the transition from childhood to adulthood (Copeland et al., 2013), it is often characterized by risk-taking (Greenwald et al., 2021), learning intimacy skills (Lawford et al., 2020), and establishing a sense of identity and autonomy (Steinberg, 2008). This period is also associated with high rates of risky behaviors such as drink driving (O'Malley and Johnston, 2013;Vassallo et al., 2014), weapon carrying (Pham et al., 2017), substance use (Pokhrel et al., 2018;Waller et al., 2006), risky sexual behaviors (Nicholson et al., 2020;Yoon et al., 2018), as well as engaging in self-injurious behaviors (Ghinea et al., 2019). In adolescent samples, strong associations have been observed among these risky behaviors (Jessor et al., 2003). ...
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