BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES ABUT SPEEDING AND ITS COUNTERMEASURES: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUNGER AND OLDER MALE AND FEMALE DRIVERS
Long, L., Brown, D., Hatfield, J., Job, R.F.S., Nelson, L. and Uebel, T., University of Sydney, Australia
A disproportionate number of young male drivers aged 16-25 are injured or killed in road accidents each year, partly as a consequence of speeding. Current interventions for speeding are hampered by limited knowledge regarding attitudes toward speeding and its countermeasures. The present study explored speeding behaviour, and attitudes and beliefs relating to it, with a focus on differences between the 16-24 year old drivers and older drivers (aged 36 years and over), amongst males and females separately. 107 licensed drivers completed questionnaires while they were visiting motor registries in the greater Sydney metropolitan area. 16-24 year old drivers rated their driving skill about the same as did older drivers (amongst males and females). Young males reported significantly more speeding behaviour than older drivers, and than young females, in all driving conditions. Perceptions regarding accident likelihood in risky driving conditions were also not significantly different amongst 16-24 year old drivers compared to older drivers. Only male 16-24 year olds regarded themselves as less likely to have a car crash than their peers. Furthermore, this group was most likely to report speeding to compete with other drivers; to impress others; to blow off steam; and speeding to obtain a thrill. These findings suggest that risk utility contributes more to the over-involvement of young males in speeding, and related road trauma, than does risk perception, although optimism bias may also play a role.