Mental health status, aggression, and poor driving distinguish traffic offenders from non-offenders but health status predicts driving behavior in both groups

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015 Aug 10:11:2063-70. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S89916. eCollection 2015.


Background: In Iran, traffic accidents and deaths from traffic accidents are among the highest in the world, and generally, driver behavior rather than technical failures or environmental conditions are responsible for traffic accidents. In a previous study, we showed that among young Iranian male traffic offenders, poor mental health status, along with aggression, predicted poor driving behavior. The aims of the present study were twofold, to determine whether this pattern could be replicated among non-traffic offenders, and to compare the mental health status, aggression, and driving behavior of male traffic offenders and non-offenders.

Methods: A total of 850 male drivers (mean age =34.25 years, standard deviation =10.44) from Kermanshah (Iran) took part in the study. Of these, 443 were offenders (52.1%) and 407 (47.9%) were non-offenders with lowest driving penalty scores applying for attaining an international driving license. Participants completed a questionnaire booklet covering socio-demographic variables, traits of aggression, health status, and driving behavior.

Results: Compared to non-offenders, offenders reported higher aggression, poorer mental health status, and worse driving behavior. Among non-offenders, multiple regression indicated that poor health status, but not aggression, independently predicted poor driving behavior.

Conclusion: Compared to non-offenders, offenders reported higher aggression, poorer health status and driving behavior. Further, the predictive power of poorer mental health status, but not aggression, for driving behavior was replicated for male non-offenders.

Keywords: aggression; driving behavior; health status; male traffic offenders; non-offenders; replication.