Crash risk perception of sleepy driving and its comparisons with drink driving and speeding: Which behavior is perceived as the riskiest?

Watling, Christopher N., Armstrong, Kerry A., Smith, Simon S., & Obst, Patricia L. (2016) Crash risk perception of sleepy driving and its comparisons with drink driving and speeding: Which behavior is perceived as the riskiest? Traffic Injury Prevention, 17(4), pp. 400-405.

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Abstract

  • Objective

Driver sleepiness is a major crash risk factor, but may be under-recognized as a risky driving behavior. Sleepy driving is usually rated as less of a road safety issue than more well-known risky driving behaviors, such as drink driving and speeding. The objective of this study was to compare perception of crash risk of sleepy driving, drink driving, and speeding.

  • Methods

In total, 300 Australian drivers completed a questionnaire that assessed crash risk perceptions for sleepy driving, drink driving, and speeding. Additionally, the participants perception of crash risk was assessed for five different contextual scenarios that included different levels of sleepiness (low, high), driving duration (short, long), and time of day/circadian influences (afternoon, night-time) of driving.

  • Results

The analysis confirmed that sleepy driving was considered a risky driving behavior, but not as risky as high levels of speeding (p < .05). Yet, the risk of crashing at 4 am was considered as equally risky as low levels of speeding (10 km over the limit). The comparisons of the contextual scenarios revealed driving scenarios that would arguably be perceived as quite risky due to time of day/circadian influences were not reported as high risk.

  • Conclusions

The results suggest a lack of awareness or appreciation of circadian rhythm functioning, particularly the descending phase of circadian rhythm that promotes increased sleepiness in the afternoon and during the early hours of the morning. Yet, the results suggested an appreciation of the danger associated with long distance driving and driver sleepiness. Further efforts are required to improve the community’s awareness of the impairing effects from sleepiness and in particular, knowledge regarding the human circadian rhythm and the increased sleep propensity during the circadian nadir.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 90201
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Crask risk perception, sleepy driving, drink driving, speeding, Australian drivers
DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2015.1096350
ISSN: 1538-957X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900) > Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified (179999)
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 2015 Taylor & Francis Inc.
Copyright Statement: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Traffic Injury Prevention <date of publication> http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/15389588.2015.1096350
Deposited On: 13 Nov 2015 05:27
Last Modified: 16 May 2016 15:10

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