Novice drivers' risky driving behavior, risk perception, and crash risk: findings from the DRIVE study

Am J Public Health. 2009 Sep;99(9):1638-44. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.150367. Epub 2009 Jul 16.


Objectives: We explored the risky driving behaviors and risk perceptions of a cohort of young novice drivers and sought to determine their associations with crash risk.

Methods: Provisional drivers aged 17 to 24 (n = 20 822) completed a detailed questionnaire that included measures of risk perception and behaviors; 2 years following recruitment, survey data were linked to licensing and police-reported crash data. Poisson regression models that adjusted for multiple confounders were created to explore crash risk.

Results: High scores on questionnaire items for risky driving were associated with a 50% increased crash risk (adjusted relative risk = 1.51; 95% confidence interval = 1.25, 1.81). High scores for risk perception (poorer perceptions of safety) were also associated with increased crash risk in univariate and multivariate models; however, significance was not sustained after adjustment for risky driving.

Conclusions: The overrepresentation of youths in crashes involving casualties is a significant public health issue. Risky driving behavior is strongly linked to crash risk among young drivers and overrides the importance of risk perceptions. Systemwide intervention, including licensing reform, is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Automobile Driving / psychology
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • New South Wales
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Perception*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult