Investigating risky, distracting, and protective peer passenger effects in a dual process framework

Prior studies indicated higher collision rates among young novice drivers with peer passengers. This driving simulator study provided a test for a dual process theory of risky driving by examining social rewards (peer passengers) and cognitive control (inhibitory control). The analyses included age (17–18 yrs, n = 30; 21–24 yrs, n = 20). Risky, distracting, and protective effects were classified by underlying driver error mechanisms. In the first drive, participants drove alone. In the second, participants drove with a peer passenger. Red-light running (violation) was more prevalent in the presence of peer passengers, which provided initial support for a dual process theory of risk driving. In a subgroup with low inhibitory control, speeding (violation) was more prevalent in the presence of peer passengers. Reduced lane-keeping variability reflected distracting effects. Nevertheless, possible protective effects for amber-light running and hazard handling (cognition and decision-making) were found in the drive with peer passengers. Avenues for further research and possible implications for targets of future driver training programs are discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01602618
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 13 2016 9:38AM