Relationships between age, executive function and driving behaviour
This study investigates the relationships between executive function and driving behaviours within two samples of Australian drivers. A self-report, cross-sectional survey research design was employed on a sample of 92 provisionally licensed drivers aged 17-25 years enrolled in a local driver safety program, and 244 students aged 18-58 years from a Canberra university. Younger drivers were found to display poorer executive function and poorer effective executive function was associated with increased total negative driving behaviours including increased driving violations, mistakes and lapses. Regression analyses confirmed that executive function was an important influential predictor of driving behaviours over and above the effects of age and sex. The strength of the influence of executive function on driving behaviour was further demonstrated in the university sample by the partially mediating effect of executive function on the relationship between age and total negative driving behaviours. These results suggest that higher levels of executive function may partially buffer the negative influence of youth on driving behaviours. Implications of results are discussed with regards to future research in driver safety.