ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Risky driving among young Victorian drivers: A longitudinal study

Cockfield, Samantha, Harris, Anne, Harrison, Warren A., Smart, Diana, Vassallo, Suzanne, Gunatillake, Thanuja

Young Drivers


The Australian Temperament Project (ATP) is a longitudinal study that has followed the development and well-being of almost 1,000 children over the first 24 years of life. Self-reported information on young people’s driving histories and practices was collected when subjects were 19-20 and 23-24 years of age. By the age of 23-24 years, almost all (97%) subjects had a driving licence. Approximately half had been detected speeding during their driving careers and 60% had been involved in a crash, although injury crashes were rare. Risky driving was relatively common. In their last 10 trips, half reported exceeding the speed limit by between 11-25km/h and two-thirds had used a mobile phone. One fifth had driven when affected by alcohol in the previous month. The sample was classified as either: high, moderate or low risk drivers based on the extent of risky driving they engaged in, and the stability of this was compared from when they were 19-20 years to when they were 23-24 years. Most low risk drivers stayed low risk and some moderate and high risk drivers reported less risky driving when they were 23-24 years. The level of co-occurrence between risky driving and other risky behaviours was analysed. High and moderate risky drivers were significantly more likely to binge drink and use marijuana, ecstasy and amphetamines than low risk drivers. Risky driving appeared to be one element of a risk taking lifestyle for a number of young people. The findings provide evidence that can inform intervention and prevention efforts aimed at reducing risky driving among young people.