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The development of risky attitudes from pre-driving to fully-qualified driving
  1. Richard Rowe1,
  2. Barbara Maughan2,
  3. Alice M Gregory3,
  4. Thalia C Eley2
  1. 1Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry and King's College London, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Rowe, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK; r.rowe{at}


Background Young drivers are at increased crash risk as a result of adopting risky driving styles. The present work examines the development of risky attitudes from pre-driving to fully-qualified driving, focussing on speed related attitudes.

Methods Data were drawn from a UK longitudinal study of adolescent behaviour development in the general population (the G1219 study). At baseline (modal age 17 years) there were 1596 participants, only 18% of whom were fully-qualified drivers. At follow-up (modal age 20 years) 64% were fully-qualified drivers. Attitudes to driving violations, particularly speeding, were measured in all participants at both assessments. Self-reported driving violations, also related to speeding, were measured in fully-qualified drivers at follow-up.

Results Attitudes became riskier with driver training/experience. Baseline attitudes measured in pre-drivers did not independently predict violations in those that had become fully-qualified drivers at follow-up. The attitudes of learner and fully-qualified drivers at baseline independently predicted violations at follow-up.

Conclusions These results indicate that the driver training period offers a promising opportunity for interventions to develop safer driving attitudes.

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