Significant others, who are they? - Examining normative influences on speeding
This paper examines normative influences on self-reported driving speeds of 160 male and 160 female Queensland drivers, aged 16-79 years. Previous research suggests a variety of ?significant others? can influence many road user behaviours, including driving speed. The presence of passengers, behaviour of other drivers, and attitudes of peers and relatives can impact on driver behaviour. The current research examined normative influences on speeding through the lens of Akers? social learning theory, which posits that learning occurs via the central process of differential association. This concept refers
to our associations with others and how these expose us to rewards, punishments, attitudes, and
models of behaviour. While considerable research has focused on the influence of peers, Akers
theorised that the family is also an important source of learning. The current research therefore, investigated the influence of family and friends on speeding across age and gender, utilising self- report measures. As anticipated, the degree to which significant others were perceived to approve of speeding (i.e., normative influence of family and friends) was significantly associated with more frequent speeding among participants. More particularly, this apparent influence of family and peers on speeding behaviour was found to be independent of the age and gender of the participants.
Consistent with previous social learning theory research, peer influence was the strongest predictor of self-reported speeding in this sample. Nonetheless, the influence of family members also appeared important. As such, the role of both family and friends needs to be considered when developing countermeasures to speeding.