Identifying and intervening with potentially high risk young drivers
Young drivers are over-involved in serious road crashes due to a combination of factors,
including inexperience, risky driving, the nature of their driving exposure and lifestyle. As a population group they are justifiably the focus of many road safety initiatives. Whilst risky driving is common among young drivers and generally reduces with age, there does appear to be a subset of young people who are at far greater risk than the average young person.
This paper summarises a project investigating whether it is feasible to identify higher risk young people and effectively intervene prior to them engaging in unsafe driving behaviours. Investigations included:
· literature reviews
· review of young driver fatality coronial data
· consultation with government agencies
· advice from experts in road safety, juvenile justice, developmental psychology and health.
The research literature indicates it may be possible to identify young people who may have a greater likelihood of becoming a higher risk young driver than average. While no particular trait or descriptor is completely accurate in predicting who will become risky on the roads, some patterns are evident. The young people more likely to engage in unsafe driving include those with:
· high sensation seeking and impulsivity traits
· conduct disorders
· anti-social behaviours
· lower than average attentional abilities
· anti-social peers
· poor family relationships, especially low parental monitoring.