Inj Prev 12:i9-i14 doi:10.1136/ip.2006.011874
  • The science of safe driving among adolescents

Influences on youthful driving behavior and their potential for guiding interventions to reduce crashes

  1. J T Shope
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J T Shope
 University of Michigan, Transportation Research Institute and School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2150, USA; jshope{at}
  • Accepted 24 April 2006


This paper presents an organized, comprehensive view of the factors known to influence young drivers’ behavior and how those factors might inform interventions to reduce crashes. This effort was done from the perspective of a public health professional, with a background in health behavior and health education, interested in preventing injury and death among young people from motor vehicle crashes. The author’s own studies, selected relevant literature, observation, and experience were considered and organized. A framework of six categories of influences on youthful driving behavior was developed, including the following elements: driving ability, developmental factors, personality factors, demographics, the perceived environment, and the driving environment. It is apparent that a complex set of many different factors influences young drivers’ behavior. To reduce crashes, comprehensive, multilevel interventions are needed that target those factors in the framework that are amenable to change.


  • Competing interests: none.

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