Risky driving attitudes start early

A British study into the attitudes of student drivers toward speed and risky behavior may affect driver education.

beginning drivers risky attitudes, comedy guys defensive driving blogThe study – published online yesterday in the journal Injury Prevention – interview 1600 particpants in 2004 and again three years later.

All interviewees were between the ages of 14 to 23.

Of the participants, 18% were licensed drivers in 2004, though by 2007 64% had become licensed drivers.

The 2004 interviews revealed that fully licensed drivers were more likely to engage in risky driving behavior than either non-drivers or beginner drivers. Riskier attitudes were connected with having had a license longer, more driving experience – including committing more traffic violations.

When the same subject were interviewed in 2007, it was found that many who had had more cautious attitudes in 2004 were now just as likely to take dangerous risks as the experienced drivers from the earlier interviews.

In short, risky behavior seems to be based more on increased experience and confidence than on personality.

Researchers believe that this shows the importance of trying to change a beginning driver’s attitude about risk taking while they are still students. They point out that during driver education is the best time to emphasize safety, while a new driver is still developing their attitudes about speeding and other risky driving behavior.

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