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Novice drivers' individual trajectories of driver behavior over the first three years of driving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gabriela D. Roman, Damian Poulter, Edward Barker, Frank P. McKenna, Richard Rowe

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Early online date4 Jun 2015
Accepted/In press14 May 2015
E-pub ahead of print4 Jun 2015
Published11 Jun 2015


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King's Authors


Identifying the changes in driving behavior that underlie the decrease in crash risk over the first few months of driving is key to efforts to reduce injury and fatality risk in novice drivers. This study represented a secondary data analysis of 1148 drivers who participated in the UK Cohort II study. The Driver Behavior Questionnaire was completed at 6 months and 1, 2 and 3 years after licensure. Linear latent growth models indicated significant increases across development in all four dimensions of aberrant driving behavior under scrutiny: aggressive violations, ordinary violations, errors and slips. Unconditional and conditional latent growth class analyses showed that the observed heterogeneity in individual trajectories was explained by the presence of multiple homogeneous groups of drivers, each exhibiting specific trajectories of aberrant driver behavior. Initial levels of aberrant driver behavior were important in identifying sub-groups of drivers. All classes showed positive slopes; there was no evidence of a group of drivers whose aberrant behavior decreased over time that might explain the decrease in crash involvement observed over this period. Male gender and younger age predicted membership of trajectories with higher levels of aberrant behavior. These findings highlight the importance of early intervention for improving road safety. We discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the behavioral underpinnings of the decrease in crash involvement observed in the early months of driving.

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