Driving on the edge: The motivational factors of risk-taking among teen drivers

Carlo Giacomo Prato, Sigal Kaplan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Road crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers worldwide, far aheadof violence, suicides and diseases. Historical trends of crash rates per population andmileage driven show the over-representation of novice teen drivers in road crashes andinjuries, the high involvement rate of young males in fatal crashes, the high rate of riskydriving behavior among young drivers, and the persistence of teen crash rates regardlessof the implementation of various policy measures designed to tackle the problem.Regardless of licensing programs and infrastructural and vehicle enhancements, thecrash involvement of teen drivers appears far from being resolved, presumably not onlydue to the complexity of psychomotor skills necessary for driving, but also due to thepsychological aspects that influence driving behavior. Namely, while driver's educationfocuses on basic car-maneuvering skills, teen drivers' crash involvement is largelydetermined by their risk-taking behavior, which derive from their personality, theirreaction to social pressure, their perception of parents and peers, their respect of culturaland social norms, and their law defiance.This chapter provides a comprehensive review of the factors contributing torisk-taking behavior of teenage drivers from a holistic perspective and charts the spikyworld of risk-taking behavior. Risk-factors consist of demographic factors (e.g., age,gender, education), developmental factors (e.g., emotional, physical, psychosocial),behavioral factors (e.g., antisocial tendency, substance abuse), personality factors (e.g.,aggressiveness, risk proneness, sensation seeking, risk perception), environmental factors(e.g., parental involvement, passenger and peer pressure, nighttime conditions), anddriving abilities (e.g., knowledge, skill level).Complementary to the proposed review, this chapter discusses the efficiency ofcurrent licensing programs and legislation amendments in tackling risk-taking behavior of teen drivers and coping with the factors contributing to such behavior, and proposesfuture research directions.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPsychology of Risk-Taking
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781624175077
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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