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Safety perception: The relationship with age and driving environments

CollectionsANU Student Research Conference (2nd : 2016 : Canberra, ACT)
Title: Safety perception: The relationship with age and driving environments
Author(s): Cox, Jolene
Beanland, Vanessa
Filtness, Ashleigh J.
Keywords: student research conference;age;driving;psychology;safety
Date published: 14-Jul-2016
Publisher: Australian National University
With the number of licensure attainment and the frequency of traffic collisions increasing amongst teenagers today, it is essential to investigate the differences in driving behaviours and perceptions across drivers of various expertise. Given that prior research found significant differences in driving attitudes and behaviours due to driving environment and experience. However, there is a lack of investigation in the role of safety perception in driving behaviours. The aim of the study is to explore safety perceptions in drivers across age in rural and urban driving environments. In this study 64 licensed drivers (22 young novice drivers aged 18-24 years, 21 experienced drivers aged 25-40 years and 21 older experienced drivers aged 55-70 years) rated the safety relevance of key elements (e.g. trees, animals, road signs, pedestrians) in urban and rural driving environments. Participants also provided data on their driving behaviour, attitudes and risk perception more generally. A significant difference was found between rural and urban driving environments (p<.001). However, driver categories did not have an influence on safety perceptions of driving environments (p= .949). Safety ratings by change type was also analysed and several sub-conditions across both rural and urban driving environments demonstrated significant differences in safety rating scores. In conclusion, participants rated rural driving environments at a lower safety relevance as compared to urban driving environments. Findings from the current study and prior studies investigating driver safety have practical implications for road safety, in particular, road policies and education for novice and older drivers.


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