This thesis explores the relationship between thinking and driving styles and their contribution to young driver road safety. In doing so, it aspires to strengthen the focus on road safety instead of road unsafety. Although the majority of literature on traffic safety concentrates on crashes, crash risk, and aberrant driving behaviour, this research concentrates on people and safe driving styles. In other words, this study is undertaken from a positive point of view, and it presents and uses the first positive definition of road safety. Young drivers are overrepresented in traffic fatalities, and they have been at the centre of many crash focused studies. However, although the number of young driver deaths has been reduced in the past decade (Chen, Ivers, Martiniuk, Boufous, Senserrick, Woodward, Stevenson and Norton 2010a),young drivers still represent 25% of the road related deaths, but make up only 15% of the licensed drivers (Department of Infrastructure Transport Regional Development and Local Government 2009). It seems that past research, the majority of which is negatively focused on crashes and aberrant driving behaviour, has not yet led to a satisfactory improvement of young driver road safety. This study, therefore, focuses on young drivers’ safety from a positive perspective. Mixed methodology is used to find an answer to the main research question Can knowledge of thinking and driving styles contribute to young driver road safety?, using self-report questionnaires and group interviews with young drivers. The thesis examines the relationship between young drivers’ thinking and driving styles, emphasising patient and careful driving. The traffic safety literature and the parallel literature on thinking styles is used to get a better understanding of the construct of driving style, and what driving style means to young drivers themselves. It argues that thinking and driving styles can both be regarded as intellectual styles and a model for the development of driving styles is proposed. The findings from this research have implications for driver training content as well as for driver training execution.
|Date of Award
|Monica Kennedy (Supervisor), Deborah Blackman (Supervisor) & Kathryn Moyle (Supervisor)