Behavioural characteristics and involvement in different types of traffic accident

Accid Anal Prev. 1995 Aug;27(4):571-81. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(95)00005-k.


Recent research has shown risk of road traffic accident involvement to be associated with the tendency to commit driving violations, fast driving, and a lack of thoroughness in decision making. It has also been shown that three broad types of accident can be used to categorise more than 70% of drivers' brief written descriptions of their accidents. These categories are "shunts" (rear-end collisions), right-of-way violations, and loss-of-control accidents. Furthermore, for each accident type the role of the reporting driver may be defined as active (striking) or passive (struck) depending on the position of his/her vehicle. This paper reports two studies examining the extent to which measures of tendency to commit violations (measured by the Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ)), frequency of fast driving (measured by the Driving Style Questionnaire (DSQ)) and thoroughness in decision making (measured by the Decision Making Questionnaire (DMQ)) are associated specifically with involvement in each of the main accident types. The results showed that a high DBQ-violation score was associated with accidents in general, both active and passive, and specifically with active loss-of-control accidents and passive right-of-way accidents. High DSQ-speed and low DMQ-thoroughness were associated with active but not passive accidents, high DSQ-speed with active right-of-way violations, and low DMQ-thoroughness was specifically associated with active shunts and active right-of-way violations. The implications of these results are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification*
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Dangerous Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires