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

Scott-Parker, Bridie, Watson, Barry C., King, Mark J., & Hyde, Melissa K. (2013) "I drove after drinking alcohol" and other risky driving behaviours reported by young novice drivers. In International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference (T2013), 25 - 28 August 2013, Brisbane, QLD.

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Volitional risky driving behaviours including drink- and drug-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 compare: 1) the self-reported compliance of drivers with road rules relating to substance-impaired driving and other risky driving behaviours including speeding and driving tired, one year after progression from a Learner to a Provisional (intermediate) licence; and 2) the interrelationships between substance-impaired driving and other risky driving behaviours (crashes, offences, and Police avoidance).


1268 drivers (373 males) aged 17-26 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 (5.9% males, 1.3% females) and drinking alcohol (19.3% males, 11.6% females). In comparison, a considerable proportion of participants reported at least occasionally exceeding speed limits (85.7% novices) and driving when tired (82.7% novices). Substance-impaired driving was associated with avoiding Police, speeding, risky driving intentions, and self reported crashes and offences. Forty-four percent of illicit-drug drivers also reported alcohol-impaired driving.

Discussion and conclusions

The low self-reported prevalence of substance-impaired driving suggests official enforcement measures play a role in promoting compliance, in addition to social influences such as the broader community and the young novice drivers’ social networks including friends and family. Conversely, the prevalence of speeding appears to reflect the pervasive cultural acceptance of this behaviour. 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.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 60185
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: risky driving behaviours, young novice drivers
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
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 2013 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 02 Oct 2013 01:17
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2013 16:54

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