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Accid Anal Prev. 2016 Apr;89:49-56. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2015.12.024. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

Identifying beliefs underlying pre-drivers' intentions to take risks: An application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK. Electronic address:
Bradford Institute for Health Research, UK.
School of Psychology, University of Sussex, UK.
Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester, UK.
University of Reading, UK.
Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK.


Novice motorists are at high crash risk during the first few months of driving. Risky behaviours such as speeding and driving while distracted are well-documented contributors to crash risk during this period. To reduce this public health burden, effective road safety interventions need to target the pre-driving period. We use the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to identify the pre-driver beliefs underlying intentions to drive over the speed limit (N=77), and while over the legal alcohol limit (N=72), talking on a hand-held mobile phone (N=77) and feeling very tired (N=68). The TPB explained between 41% and 69% of the variance in intentions to perform these behaviours. Attitudes were strong predictors of intentions for all behaviours. Subjective norms and perceived behavioural control were significant, though weaker, independent predictors of speeding and mobile phone use. Behavioural beliefs underlying these attitudes could be separated into those reflecting perceived disadvantages (e.g., speeding increases my risk of crash) and advantages (e.g., speeding gives me a thrill). Interventions that can make these beliefs safer in pre-drivers may reduce crash risk once independent driving has begun.


Driver education; Pre-driver; Theory of Planned Behaviour; Violations; Young driver

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