Young drivers and their passengers: crash risk and group processes

The overall aim was to elucidate the effects of vehicle passengers on young drivers. This generated two specific aims and four papers. The first aim was to investigate the crash risk for young drivers with passengers and to establish whether such accidents involve any special circumstances compared to those that occur without passengers. This goal was achieved by analysing accident and exposure data from two registers. The second objective was to analyse the group processes that develop between four young men in a vehicle and to ascertain how those interactions affect driving behaviour. Those issues were addressed by performing an observational study of twelve young men driving an instrumented vehicle in real traffic with and without passengers. The interactions between the vehicle occupants were video and audio recorded, and the driving behaviour was registered in various ways. The results show that drivers with passengers have a lower crash risk compared to those driving alone regardless of the driver's age, although this effect is weaker for young drivers (especially males) than for other age groups. Compared to driving alone, driving with passengers for young drivers is more extensively associated with single-vehicle crashes that occur at night, on weekends, and in rural areas on roads with higher speed limits, and it leads to more severe outcomes. It has also been found that the passengers sometimes try to induce the young drivers to act in either safer or more dangerous ways, although the drivers very often resist urging and coaxing from their passengers. Cohesion is another factor that affect the driver-passenger group: a high level of cohesion, especially task cohesion, is associated with a low number of unsafe driving actions. Consequently, it seems that the presence of passengers is not enough to ensure safe driving, substantial group cohesion is also necessary for such behaviour (A).


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  • Accession Number: 01144894
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • ISBN: 978-91-7393-766-5
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Nov 23 2009 10:14AM