Online Program

Are risk perceptions associated with adolescent risky driving?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Bruce Simons-Morton, EdD, MPH, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research, NIH, Bethesda, MD
Johnathon P. Ehsani, PhD, Prevention Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Kaigang Li, PhD, Prevention Research Branch, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD
Ashley Russell, PhD, Prevention Research Branch, NICHD, Bethesda, MD
Background/Purpose. Perceived risk is frequently cited as a predictor of teenage risky driving. Theoretically, people are less likely to engage in a behavior they perceive to involve potential harm, however the extent to which adolescents' perceptions of risk are associated with objective measures of risky driving has not been established. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the relationship between perceived risk and two self-reported and two objective measures of teenage risky driving.

Methods. Vehicles of 42 newly-licensed teenage drivers were instrumented with accelerometers, cameras, global positioning systems, allowing objective assessment of crashes/near crashes and elevated g-force events (kinematic risky driving). In addition, participants completed surveys three times over 18 months (T1 at 6 months, T2 at 12 months, and T3 at 18 months). These included two measures of risky driving (Checkpoints Risky Driving Scale (C-RDS) and Dula Aggressive Driving Scale (Dula) and one measure of perceived risk. Correlations between perceived risk, self-reported risky driving, and kinematic risky driving at each time point were calculated.

Results. Perceived risk was stable over time, with r>0.70 between T1, T2, and T3. Perceived risk at T1 was significantly correlated with the Dula at T1 (r=0.36), but not at T2 or T3 in either cross-sectional or prospective analyses. Perceived risk was not significantly associated with C-RDS at any time point, and correlated with kinematic risky driving only at T2 (r=0.35). Nor was it correlated with crash/near crash at any time point.

Conclusion: Perceived risk was not consistently associated with measures of risky driving.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the theoretical link between perceived risk and risky driving. Evaluate the reliability of self report measures of perceived risk and risky driving. Explain the relationships over time of perceived risk and self reported and objective measures of driving risk.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As senior investigator, I have conducted numerous studies on teenage driving risk and prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.