Research Papers

Dear Diary… A Content Analysis of Anger-Provoking Events Reported in Driving Diaries

Filename FINAL-PAPER-07.doc
Filesize 249 KB
Version 1
Date added June 10, 2012
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Category 2012 CMRSC XXII Banff
Tags Session 1C
Author/Auteur Christine M. Wickens, James E. W. Roseborough, Ashley Hall, David L. Wiesenthal


Much of the aggressive driving behaviour seen on roadways is the result of driver anger and retaliation for a perceived driving offence. Content analysis has recently been undertaken to identify the types of objectionable roadway behaviours that cause driver anger. The purpose of the current study was: (a) to apply a previously developed offensive driver behaviour coding scheme to a new type of dataset: driving diaries, and (b) to test the reliability of a new coding scheme developed to characterize perceptions of why the offensive driver behaviours occurred. The dataset was taken from a previous study [1] in which 202 participants were asked to complete a total of four on-line driving diaries, once every two days. These diaries asked participants to describe a negative driving event involving another motorist that they had experienced in the previous 48 hours. An offensive driver behaviour coding scheme previously applied to telephone complaints of improper driver behaviour received by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) [2] and to online complaints posted to a road-rage reporting website [3,4] was applied to the diary entries. A new perceived causation coding scheme was also developed to identify victim's perceptions of why the event occurred, and was piloted on the diary entries dataset. The inter-rater reliability of the behaviour coding scheme as applied to the diary entries was very good (kappa = .81). The most frequently reported driver behaviours were weaving and cutting, which was included in 33% of all diary entries, followed by slow driving (20%), speeding (13%), perceived hostile driver displays (13%), and tailgating (11%). These results were contrasted with those of the previous applications of the behaviour coding scheme. Assessed independently across all diary entries, the inter-rater reliability of the coding of three causation categories was within an acceptable range (kappa = .51, .41, .67 for retaliation, time urgency, and negligence, respectively). When applied exclusively to the most critical diary entries, consisting of the events identified by each participant as the most negative and upsetting encountered, the reliability improved greatly (kappa = .60, .80, and .81). The most frequently reported source of perceived causation was negligence, involved in 15% of all coded diary entries and 41% of critical events. This was followed by time urgency (14% of all coded diary entries and 29% of critical events) and retaliation (9% of all coded diary entries and 11% of critical events). The successful application of the coding scheme to a new type of dataset further validates the coding scheme and again demonstrates the value of content analysis for driving-related research. The perceived causation coding scheme produced acceptable measures of reliability, but left room for improvement. Implications for driver education and the development of attribution training programs are discussed.

Christine M. Wickens, James E. W. Roseborough, Ashley Hall, David L. Wiesenthal