ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Psychosocial influences on young Australian university students decisions to ride with a drink driver

Armstrong, K, Ryan, Leigh-Anne (Peer reviewed)

Driver Psychology / Human Factors


Drink driving is a well established road safety risk factor, targeted through legislation, education, and an increasing array of technology-based initiatives in an effort to reduce the incidence and impact on Australian roads. However, evidence suggests that most drink drivers do not drive alone. This study examined the incidence of drink riding behaviour in a sample of 294 young Australian drivers (average age 20 years), as well as a number of social and psychological influences associated with the behaviour.Results indicated that 56% of participants reported ever having ridden as a passenger of a drink driver, with just over 36% having done so within the previous twelve months. With respect to the previous twelve month period, attitudes toward drink riding was moderately correlated with actual behaviour (r = .43), whereas subjective norms (r = .19), perceived behavioural control (r = -.27) and the personality construct of sensation seeking (r = .23) were weakly correlated. Drink riding was moderately correlated with self-reported drinking behaviour, including frequency of drinking occasions (r = .38) and particularly occasions where two or more drinks were consumed (r = .44). Drink riders were significantly more likely than non-drink riders to report having engaged in other drug and alcohol related driving and riding behaviours, yet were less likely to have reported risky driving practices generally, such as driving through a red light. These results suggest that alcohol consumption and attitudes play an important role in drink riding behaviour, whereas rhistory appears to be less important. The implications and future directions are discussed.