The risky behaviour of young drivers : developing a measurement tool

Scott-Parker, Bridie, Watson, Barry C., & King, Mark J. (2010) The risky behaviour of young drivers : developing a measurement tool. In 20th Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference, 6-9 June 2010, Hilton Niagara Falls, Ontario.

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The contribution of risky behaviour to the increased crash and fatality rates of young novice drivers is recognised in the road safety literature around the world. Exploring such risky driver behaviour has led to the development of tools like the Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) to examine driving violations, errors, and lapses [1]. Whilst the DBQ has been utilised in young novice driver research, some items within this tool seem specifically designed for the older, more experienced driver, whilst others appear to asses both behaviour and related motives. The current study was prompted by the need for a risky behaviour measurement tool that can be utilised with young drivers with a provisional driving licence. Sixty-three items exploring young driver risky behaviour developed from the road safety literature were incorporated into an online survey. These items assessed driver, passenger, journey, car and crash-related issues. A sample of 476 drivers aged 17-25 years (M = 19, SD = 1.59 years) with a provisional driving licence and matched for age, gender, and education were drawn from a state-wide sample of 761 young drivers who completed the survey. Factor analysis based upon a principal components extraction of factors was followed by an oblique rotation to investigate the underlying dimensions to young novice driver risky behaviour. A five factor solution comprising 44 items was identified, accounting for 55% of the variance in young driver risky behaviour. Factor 1 accounted for 32.5% of the variance and appeared to measure driving violations that were transient in nature - risky behaviours that followed risky decisions that occurred during the journey (e.g., speeding). Factor 2 accounted for 10.0% of variance and appeared to measure driving violations that were fixed in nature; the risky decisions being undertaken before the journey (e.g., drink driving). Factor 3 accounted for 5.4% of variance and appeared to measure misjudgment (e.g., misjudged speed of oncoming vehicle). Factor 4 accounted for 4.3% of variance and appeared to measure risky driving exposure (e.g., driving at night with friends as passengers). Factor 5 accounted for 2.8% of variance and appeared to measure driver emotions or mood (e.g., anger). Given that the aim of the study was to create a research tool, the factors informed the development of five subscales and one composite scale. The composite scale had a very high internal consistency measure (Cronbach’s alpha) of .947. Self-reported data relating to police-detected driving offences, their crash involvement, and their intentions to break road rules within the next year were also collected. While the composite scale was only weakly correlated with self-reported crashes (r = .16, p < .001), it was moderately correlated with offences (r = .26, p < .001), and highly correlated with their intentions to break the road rules (r = .57, p < .001). Further application of the developed scale is needed to confirm the factor structure within other samples of young drivers both in Australia and in other countries. In addition, future research could explore the applicability of the scale for investigating the behaviour of other types of drivers.

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ID Code: 34418
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: young driver, risky behaviour, novice, questionnaire development, driver behaviour questionnaire
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 09 Sep 2010 22:02
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:22

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