Despite extensive research, preventive efforts and general improvements in road safety levels, the accident risk of young male drivers remains increased. Based on a standardized survey of a random sample of 2,018 male drivers at the age of 18 and 28, this study looked into attitudes and behaviours related to traffic violations of male drivers. More specifically, the role of peer influence on speeding was examined in both age groups. In regression analyses it could be shown that the descriptive subjective norm, i.e. the perception of friends’ speeding, was the most important predictor of speeding in both age groups. Other significant factors were: negative attitude towards speed limits, injunctive subjective norm, and the perceived risk of having an accident when speeding. In the older age group it was more common to drive faster than allowed and their speeding was largely in line with the perceived level of their friends’ speeding. In the younger age group a higher discrepancy between own and friends’ speeding was found indicating that young male drivers are socialized into increased speeding behaviour based on peer pressure. By contrast for the 28-year-olds peer pressure mainly seems to maintain or justify individual speeding behaviour. It is suggested that preventive measures should take these different influences of peer pressure into account by using a peer-based approach for the 18-year-olds and a more individual approach for the 28-year-olds.
Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2014, Vol 64, p. 92-99
Young male drivers; Speeding; Subjective norm; Peer pressure; Attitudes; Traffic violations