"I drove after drinking alcohol" and other risky driving behaviours reported by young novice drivers.

Research paper by Bridie B Scott-Parker, Barry B Watson, Mark J MJ King, Melissa K MK Hyde

Indexed on: 05 Apr '14Published on: 05 Apr '14Published in: Accident Analysis & Prevention


Volitional risky driving behaviours such as drink- and drug-driving (i.e. substance-impaired driving) and speeding contribute to the overrepresentation of young novice drivers in road crash fatalities, and crash risk is greatest during the first year of independent driving in particular.To explore the: (1) self-reported compliance of drivers with road rules regarding substance-impaired driving and other risky driving behaviours (e.g., speeding, driving while tired), one year after progression from a Learner to a Provisional (intermediate) licence; and (2) interrelationships between substance-impaired driving and other risky driving behaviours (e.g., crashes, offences, and Police avoidance).Drivers (n=1076; 319 males) aged 18-20 years were surveyed regarding their sociodemographics (age, gender) and self-reported driving behaviours including crashes, offences, Police avoidance, and driving intentions.A relatively small proportion of participants reported driving after taking drugs (6.3% of males, 1.3% of females) and drinking alcohol (18.5% of males, 11.8% of females). In comparison, a considerable proportion of participants reported at least occasionally exceeding speed limits (86.7% of novices), and risky behaviours like driving when tired (83.6% of novices). Substance-impaired driving was associated with avoiding Police, speeding, risky driving intentions, and self-reported crashes and offences. Forty-three percent of respondents who drove after taking drugs also reported alcohol-impaired driving.Behaviours of concern include drink driving, speeding, novice driving errors such as misjudging the speed of oncoming vehicles, violations of graduated driver licensing passenger restrictions, driving tired, driving faster if in a bad mood, and active punishment avoidance. Given the interrelationships between the risky driving behaviours, a deeper understanding of influential factors is required to inform targeted and general countermeasure implementation and evaluation during this critical driving period. Notwithstanding this, a combination of enforcement, education, and engineering efforts appear necessary to improve the road safety of the young novice driver, and for the drink-driving young novice driver in particular.