ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Changes in risky driving behaviour among young adults

Begg, D, Langley, John

Young Drivers


The objective of this study was to determine whether there was a change in the prevalence of risky driving and thrill-seeking behaviour among a cohort of young adults from age 21 to 26 years. This study was part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which is a longitudinal study of a birth cohort. At 21 and 26 years of age, data were sought on the prevalence of a range of risky driving behaviours (e.g. driving after drinking, driving after using marijuana, driving fast just for the thrill of it, taking deliberate risks for fun) and thrill seeking behaviours (bungy-jumping, sky diving, white water rafting, hang-gliding, roller coaster ride). At both ages, 936 members of the cohort were administered a face-to-face interview, using a structured questionnaire that included items on these behaviours. The results showed that, at both ages, risky driving was a predominantly a male activity, but by 26 years of age many males had ?matured-out? of these behaviours. At the same time, the desire to take part in thrill-seeking increased among the males. Among the females, there were few significant changes between ages 21 and 26 years but at both ages the prevalence of risky driving and thrill-seeking was relatively low.

The results from this study confirm that risky driving behaviour is predominantly a young male activity. Given that young drivers are also relatively inexperienced, this study provides good evidence why road safety interventions for risky driving behaviour should target young male drivers.