“They’re lunatics on the road” : Exploring the normative influences of parents, friends, and police on young novices’ risky driving decisions

Scott-Parker, Bridie, Watson, Barry C., King, Mark J., & Hyde, Melissa K. (2012) “They’re lunatics on the road” : Exploring the normative influences of parents, friends, and police on young novices’ risky driving decisions. Safety Science, 50(9), pp. 1917-1928.

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Purpose: Young novice drivers experience significantly greater risk of being injured or killed in car crashes than older more experienced drivers. This research utilised a qualitative approach guided by the framework of Akers’ social learning theory. It explored young novice drivers’ perspectives on risky driving including rewards and punishments expected from and administered by parents, friends, and police, imitation of parents’ and friends’ driving, and advantages and disadvantages of risky driving.

Methods: Twenty-one young drivers (12 females, 9 males) aged 16–25 years (M = 17.71 years, SD = 2.15) with a Learner (n = 11) or Provisional (n = 10) driver licence participated in individual or small group interviews.

Findings and conclusions: Content analysis supported four themes: (1) rewards and (2) punishments for risky driving, and the influence of (3) parents and (4) friends. The young novice drivers differed in their vulnerability to the negative influences of friends and parents, with some novices advising they were able to resist risky normative influences whilst others felt they could not. The authority of the police as enforcers of road rules was either accepted and respected or seen as being used to persecute young novices. These findings suggest that road safety interventions should consider the normative influence of parents and friends on the risky and safe behaviour of young novices. Police were also seen as influential upon behaviour. Future research should explore the complicated relationship between parents, friends, the police, young novices, and their risky driving behaviour.

Impact and interest:

23 citations in Scopus
20 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 50741
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: young driver, novice, rewards, punishments, social learning theory
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2012.05.014
ISSN: 0925-7535
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
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 2012 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Safety Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Safety Science, Volume 50, Issue 9, (2012). DOI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753512001348.
Deposited On: 04 Jun 2012 22:14
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 14:48

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