Driving attitudes and risk perceptions of high-frequency speeders: Results of a community attitudes survey
Crashes involving speeding drivers and riders resulted in 59 fatalities in Queensland in 2012, representing 21.1% of the annual road toll. Research has found exceeding the speed limit by just 5km/h doubles the risk of being involved in a casualty crash. As such, frequent speeding even at a low range has the potential to be dangerous. However, despite the evidence of risk, speeding continues to be a pervasive factor on Queensland roads. Speeding remains relatively socially acceptable and is practiced by most drivers on occasion. Correcting this mismatch between the risks associated with speeding and driver behaviour is an essential step in making speeding socially unacceptable. The Department of Transport and Main Roads has conducted an annual community attitudes survey for the past 14 years which is used to track self-reported attitudes to various road safety issues and assist policy makers to develop appropriate interventions to curb negative and antisocial attitudes. This study combined the results of the three most recent surveys, 2010 - 2012 (n=1,655), and examined the self-reported attitudes, risk perceptions and behaviour of high-frequency speeders (i.e. those who report speeding more than 50% of the time). High-frequency speeders tended to be younger than low-frequency speeders and held less safe attitudes towards all speeding and speed enforcement items surveyed. The situations in which high-frequency speeders were more likely to report speeding pointed to the fact that the behaviour was often a conscious decision. Risk perceptions of other road safety issues were also investigated. Implications for public policy are discussed.