ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Learning to take risks: Understanding risk taking by young male drivers in the ACT

Styles, Tanya, Imberger, Kelly, Catchpole, John

Young Drivers


Risk-taking among young male drivers was investigated from the perspective offered by theories of learning. Group interviews with young drivers living in the ACT were held to determine whether their risky driving behaviours became more frequent during the first year after acquiring a provisional licence, and to investigate the influences that contribute to early occurrences of risk-taking behaviours and the factors that contribute to increases in risk-taking. As predicted, there was evidence to suggest that pragmatic pressures, sensation seeking and modelling of other drivers behaviours all contribute to the initiation of some risky behaviours. There was also evidence to suggest that increases in risky driving behaviours were associated with increasing confidence and the extinction of safe behaviours in favour of risky alternatives that are reinforced in a variety of ways.