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Accid Anal Prev. 2012 Mar;45:334-41. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.07.023. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

The beliefs which motivate young male and female drivers to speed: a comparison of low and high intenders.

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Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Campus, Kelvin Grove 4059, Australia.


In Australia, young drivers aged 17-24 years, and particularly males, have the highest risk of being involved in a fatal crash. Investigation of young drivers' beliefs allows for a greater understanding of their involvement in risky behaviours, such as speeding, as beliefs are associated with intentions, the antecedent to behaviour. The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) was used to conceptualise beliefs using a scenario based questionnaire distributed to licenced drivers (N=398). The questionnaire measured individual's beliefs and intentions to speed in a particular situation. Consistent with a TPB-based approach, the beliefs of those with low intentions to speed ('low intenders') were compared with the beliefs of those with high intentions ('high intenders') with such comparisons conducted separately for males and females. Overall, significant differences in the beliefs held by low and high intenders and for both females and males were found. Specifically, for females, it was found that high intenders were significantly more likely to perceive advantages of speeding, less likely to perceive disadvantages, and more likely to be encouraged to speed on familiar and inappropriately signed roads than female low intenders. Females, however, did not differ in their perceptions of support from friends, with all females reporting some level of disapproval from most friends and all females (i.e., low and high intenders) reporting approval to speed from their male friends. The results for males revealed that high intenders were significantly more likely to speed on familiar and inappropriately signed roads as well as having greater perceptions of support from all friends, except from those friends with whom they worked. Low and high intending males did not differ in their perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of speeding, with the exception of feelings of excitement whereby high intenders reported speeding to be more exciting than low intenders. The findings are discussed in terms of how they may directly inform the content of mass media and public education campaigns aimed at encouraging young drivers to slow down.

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