Are some people more inclined to risky road user behaviour than others?


Research shows that young people and men more often display risky road user behaviour than older people and women. This also applies when specifically considering aggressive road user behaviour and repeat offenders. Risky and aggressive road user behaviour are reinforced by specific personality traits (a.o. thrill seeking and tendency to get angry) [36].

Concerning different types of risky road user behaviour – speeding, phone use, not wearing seatbelts, driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medicines, or fatigued driving – a self-report study shows that younger drivers are more inclined to this kind of behaviour than older drivers, and men more than women. But the differences between the youngest and oldest age groups (18-24; 25-34 versus 55-64; 65+) are much larger than the differences between genders [31].

Several studies show that aggressive road user behaviour decreases as one grows older, and that it is more common among men than among women [31] [37] [38] [39]. The difference between risky road user behaviour in general and aggressive driving is that aggressive drivers are usually also aggressive when they are not participating in traffic [36].

Moreover, certain personality traits are shown to be related to a greater tendency to risky or aggressive driver behaviour [8] [12] [40] [41] [42] [43]. It concerns those characterised by

The profile of the group of ‘aggressive drivers’ emerging from international research is: often young, often male; easily angry; convinced of their own superior driving skills; thrill seeking [36].

The background of Dutch repeat traffic offenders has not been researched. On the basis of an international survey among 35,000 drivers in 32 countries, Goldenbeld et al. [46] found that different types of repeat traffic offences – alcohol, drug and speed violations – were mainly committed by young male drivers already acquainted with driving under the influence, who found drugs and alcohol acceptable, whose social environment also found drug use in traffic acceptable, and who felt driving at high speed to be a personal necessity.

The foreign literature about repeat traffic offenders is, otherwise, mostly about drink-driving. It shows that serious alcohol offenders and recidivists often have additional personality and/or behavioural problems [47]. Martí-Belda Bertolín et al. [48] found that problematic alcohol consumption, inclination to animosity, and personality traits, such as a high activation level and a serious need for thrills, were related to committing repeat traffic offences.

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Risky road user behaviour, aggression and repeat offenders

Risky road user behaviour is behaviour that adversely affects road safety, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or… Meer

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