Research Papers

The risky behaviour of young novice drivers: Developing a measurement tool

Filename Scott-Parker.pdf
Filesize 328 KB
Version 1
Date added June 6, 2010
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Category 2010 CMRSC XX Niagara
Tags Session 4A
Author/Auteur B Scott-Parker, B Watson, M King


The contribution of risky behaviour to the increased crash and fatality rates of young novice drivers is recognised in the road safety literature around the world. Exploring such risky driver behaviour has led to the development of tools like the Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) to examine driving violations, errors, and lapses [1]. Whilst the DBQ has been utilised in young novice driver research, some items within this tool seem specifically designed for the older, more experienced driver, whilst others appear to asses both behaviour and related motives. The current study was prompted by the need for a risky behaviour measurement tool that can be utilised with young drivers with a provisional driving licence. Sixty-three items exploring young driver risky behaviour developed from the road safety literature were incorporated into an online survey. These items assessed driver, passenger, journey, car and crash-related issues. A sample of 476 drivers aged 17-25 years (M = 19, SD = 1.59 years) with a provisional driving licence and matched for age, gender, and education were drawn from a state-wide sample of 761 young drivers who completed the survey. Factor analysis based upon a principal components extraction of factors was followed by an oblique rotation to investigate the underlying dimensions to young novice driver risky behaviour. A five factor solution comprising 44 items was identified, accounting for 55% of the variance in young driver risky behaviour. Factor 1 accounted for 32.5% of the variance and appeared to measure driving violations that were transient in nature - risky behaviours that followed risky decisions that occurred during the journey (e.g., speeding). Factor 2 accounted for 10.0% of variance and appeared to measure driving violations that were fixed in nature; the risky decisions being undertaken before the journey (e.g., drink driving). Factor 3 accounted for 5.4% of variance and appeared to measure misjudgement (e.g., misjudged speed of oncoming vehicle). Factor 4 accounted for 4.3% of variance and appeared to measure risky driving exposure (e.g., driving at night with friends as passengers). Factor 5 accounted for 2.8% of variance and appeared to measure driver emotions or mood (e.g., anger). Given that the aim of the study was to create a research tool, the factors informed the development of five subscales and one composite scale. The composite scale had a very high internal consistency measure (Cronbach's alpha) of .947. Self-reported data relating to police- detected driving offences, their crash involvement, and their intentions to break road rules within the next year were also collected. While the composite scale was only weakly correlated with self-reported crashes (r = .16, p < .001), it was moderately correlated with offences (r = .26, p < .001), and highly correlated with their intentions to break the road rules (r = .57, p < .001). Further application of the developed scale is needed to confirm the factor structure within other samples of young drivers both in Australia and in other countries. In addition, future research could explore the applicability of the scale for investigating the behaviour of other types of drivers.

B Scott-Parker, B Watson and M King