ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Who takes risks? Targeting risky young drivers

Catchpole, John, Styles, Tanya

Young Drivers


The study objectives were to identify the young drivers most likely to engage in risky driving behaviour; and to assess the influence of age, experience, over-confidence, aversive consequences and parental risky driving on risk-taking by young drivers. The study comprised a telephone survey of young ACT drivers and an analysis of traffic offences committed by inexperienced ACT drivers.

The telephone survey revealed that over-confidence contributes to speeding, using a hand-held mobile phone while driving and running red lights, but not to aggressive driving. Respondents explicitly acknowledged the influence of their parents? driving on their own driving style. The self-reported frequency of risky driving behaviours by the respondent was significantly associated with the frequency of their parents engaging in the same behaviours.

The rate of risky offences was found to be much higher for young males than for young females. Risky offence rates declined steeply with increasing age. After controlling for age, offence rates remained fairly constant for the first three years of driving experience, before rising sharply in the fourth year. The offence rate was far higher for drivers who had committed prior offences than for drivers who had not. Risky offences continue at high rates even after the driver?s licence has been suspended or cancelled.