THE ROLE OF PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS AND PSYCHOMOTOR ABILITIES IN PREDICTING ACCIDENT RISK
 
Ayasik, H.B., Middle East Technical University, Er, N., Ankara University, Ozkan, T. and Sumer, N., Middle East Technical University, Turkey
 
This study aims to examine a model in which personality characteristics (i.e., sensation seeking and hostility) and psychomotor abilities (i.e., monotonous and selective attention, peripheral perception, coordination, speed, and distance perception) had an effect on accident rate and overtaking tendency mediated by driving violations and errors. Turkish drivers (N=128) completed the measures of personality and driving behaviors and were administered a group of computer-based psychomotor tasks. Results revealed that the novelty subscale of sensation seeking, monotonous attention, and coordination ability significantly predicted violations. Errors were significantly predicted by novelty and selective attention only. Accident rate was directly predicted by violations, but not errors, and indirectly predicted by novelty and coordination ability via violations. Similar pattern was observed in predicting overtaking tendency with higher coefficients for violations and errors. Moreover, violations positively and errors negatively predicted overtaking tendency. While violations mediated the link between a group of independent variables (novelty, monotonous attention, and coordination) and overtaking tendency, errors mediated the link between selective attention and overtaking tendency. The results suggested that novelty seeking appeared to be the most critical personality characteristics in predicting both accident rate and overtaking tendency. Regarding the predictive power of psychomotor abilities, both types of attention and coordination ability seemed to heighten the tendency for violations implying that those having better coordination skills and higher levels of attention may have an overconfidence about their driving abilities which may result in risky driving behaviors and accident risk.