Young driver perceived risk and risky driving: A theoretical approach to the “fatal five”

Enduring potential influences on young drivers’ risky driving (e.g., the “Fatal five”), such as age and sex, cannot be changed. However, to inform interventions seeking to reduce young drivers’ risky behaviours, research may identify psychological variables that can be influenced. Coping and threat appraisal variables from protection motivation theory can assist understanding young driver decision making for risky driving. A sample of young provisional or open license Australian drivers (N = 601; aged 17–25 years, M = 20.0, SD = 2.3) anonymously completed an online survey measuring: (1) coping and threat appraisal for the Fatal five driving behaviours, (2) perceived risk of driving-related behaviours, and (3) violation subscales from the Behaviour of Young Novice Drivers Scale. Using path analysis, coping appraisal, threat appraisal, and perceived risk modelled both maladaptive and protective decision-making pathways applicable to young drivers when engaging in risky driving. Goodness-of-fit statistics supported both proposed conceptual models with reward, response costs, and perceived risk showing moderate associations with young driver reported risky driving. This novel adaptation of protection motivation theory assists understanding factors that may contribute to young driver engagement in risky driving (maladaptive pathway), and why young novice drivers may choose not to engage in risky driving (protective pathway). Applications and further implications of the models are discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01675619
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 5 2018 3:06PM