Research Papers

Effects of passenger and alcohol on the driving behaviour of young males and females

Version 1
Date added July 10, 2018
Downloaded 0 times/fois
Category 2018 CARSP XXVIII Victoria
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 4A
Author/Auteur Ouimet, Paquette, Corado, Brown
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



Young drivers are overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes. Passenger presence and alcohol consumption have been shown to play an important role in driving risk. While peer influence is posited to moderate passenger effects, understanding of how alcohol interacts with passenger influence to shape driving risk is incomplete. To explore interactions between different forms of peer influence and levels of alcohol dose on young drivers" simulation driving performance. This study is a randomised controlled experiment with parallel design and stratification by sex (120 males and 120 females). Participants aged 18 to 21 years old were randomised to a peer influence condition (risk-averse or risk-accepting male passenger) and an alcohol dose condition (placebo, 0.25 g/kg, or 0.45 g/kg). A confederate-passenger acted accordingly to a script which included expressing opinions in specific scenarios about the behavior that the participant should adopt (e.g., passing a stopped vehicle in a complex intersection for the risk-accepting passenger vs. waiting for the vehicle to cross the intersection for the risk-averse passenger). Driving-related dependent variables included mean speed and time before passing the stopped vehicle. Preliminary results showed participants in the presence of a risk-accepting passenger drove 5 km/h faster than those with the risk-averse passenger (p < .001). They also spent 31 seconds less time waiting being the vehicle at the intersection (p < .001). Males drove 3 km/h faster than females (p = .004) and waited 16 seconds less than females at the intersection (p < .001). There were no significant effects related to alcohol dose. This study indicated that social context exerts significant effects on driving behavior, specifically regarding peer influence in the driving performance of young male and female drivers. The effects were not altered by alcohol intake. These insights inform refinement of current prevention strategies (e.g., peer interventions targeting social norms and parent-focused prevention programs). The findings also suggest that peer influence is more potent than alcohol at the levels measured (i.e., in doses approximating 0.0%, 0.02%, 0.05%) in influencing risky driving. Peer influence is a significant factor associated with increased risk in young drivers.