The Driver Behaviour Questionnaire as accident predictor: A methodological re-meta-analysis

af Wåhlberg, Anders E., Barraclough, Peter, & Freeman, James (2015) The Driver Behaviour Questionnaire as accident predictor: A methodological re-meta-analysis. Journal of Safety Research, 55, pp. 185-212.

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The Manchester Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) is the most commonly used self-report tool in traffic safety research and applied settings. It has been claimed that the violation factor of this instrument predicts accident involvement, which was supported by a previous meta-analysis. However, that analysis did not test for methodological effects, or include contacting researchers to obtain unpublished results.


The present study re-analysed studies on prediction of accident involvement from DBQ factors, including lapses, and many unpublished effects. Tests of various types of dissemination bias and common method variance were undertaken.


Outlier analysis showed that some effects were probably not reliable data, but excluding them did not change the results. For correlations between violations and crashes, tendencies for published effects to be larger than unpublished ones and for effects to decrease over time were observed, but were not significant. Also, analysis using the proxy of the mean of accidents in studies indicated that studies where effects for violations are unknown have smaller effect sizes. These differences indicate dissemination bias. Studies using self-reported accidents as dependent variables had much larger effects than those using recorded accident data. Also, zero-order correlations were larger than partial correlations that controlled for exposure. Similarly, violations/accidents effects were strong only when there was also a strong correlation between accidents and exposure. Overall, the true effect is probably very close to zero (r<.07) for violations versus traffic accident involvement, depending upon which systematic tendencies in the data are controlled for. Conclusions: Methodological factors and dissemination bias have inflated the mean effect size of the DBQ in the published literature. Strong evidence of various artefactual effects is apparent.

Practical Applications

A greater level of care should be taken if the DBQ continues to be used in traffic safety research. Also, validation of self-reports should be more comprehensive in the future, taking into account the possibility of common method variance.

Impact and interest:

8 citations in Scopus
6 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 85197
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Driver Behaviour Questionnaire, common method variance, self-report, exposure, dissemination bias
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2015.08.003
ISSN: 0022-4375
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychological Methodology Design and Analysis (170110)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Elsevier
Deposited On: 09 Jul 2015 01:12
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 02:01

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