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Tendency to Speed in Learners Foretells Dangerous Drivers

Update Date: Jan 24, 2013 08:21 AM EST

If a person has a tendency to drive at a high speed or takes unnecessary risks while learning to drive, then, according to a study, he or she may go on to become a dangerous driver.

Road accidents killed 1850 people and injured 22,690 people in the U.K in 2010 and the involvement of young drivers in them was considerable. So, the tendency to speed and take unnecessary risks needs to be curbed while a person is still learning how to drive.

The authors based their research on the result of Genesis 12-19, a study which investigates the effect of genetic and environmental factors on the development of an adolescent.

In the study approximately 1596 volunteers were asked about risky driving and driver's attitude. The age of these participants was from 14-23. Their opinion was taken twice, once in 2004 and then again in 2007. In the year 2004, 18 percent had a full driving license while three years later, in 2007, 64 percent of them were fully qualified drivers.

It was observed that risk taking attitude also increased during these three years. Regular drivers had a higher tendency to take risks than those who were just learning to drive. The author suggests tougher penalties as one of the steps to curb irresponsible driving.

"One possibility is that confidence in the ability to handle speed and experience of the relatively forgiving nature of the road environment makes drivers feel that speeding is less risky than they thought initially. It is possible that most UK training is focused on the control and higher order driving skills that will be formally assessed at the expense of developing safer driving attitudes. A focus on skills may contribute to the development of riskier attitudes as training control skills can lead to over confidence." the author was quoted in Medicalxpress.

This study was published in the British Medical Journal.

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