ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Driving is boring… and other highlights from ethnographic research with young risk-taking drivers.

Collins, S, Cochrane, C, Waller, E, Cockfield, S

Young Drivers


Although progress is being made, young drivers still continue to be overrepresented in fatal and serious injury crashes in Victoria. In order to continue to reduce the numbers of young people who die or are seriously injured on our roads, we need to further our understanding of why young drivers engage in risky driving behaviours. In 2003, the TAC commissioned Charlie Cochrane Research and Planning to conduct ethnographic research with risky young drivers. The aim of this ethnographic research was to try to enter as far as possible into the worlds of young risk-taking drivers, gain their trust and examine risk-taking driving within the contexts of their lives. This kind of approach was quite different to conventional qualitative research. The findings from the 2003 research project were very insightful and have influenced the TAC’s youth programs for many years. Having been a decade since the original research, the TAC wanted to repeat this research to see what, if anything, is different for young drivers now. Of particular interest was the influence of new media, in terms of distractions while driving, but also potential to communicate with young people via this channel. This paper outlines the highlights from the new research with a particular focus on distractions, and the motivational and cultural reasons for risky driving behaviour within our sample of young risky drivers.