Young and unaffected by road policing strategies: using deterrence theory to explain provisional drivers’ (non)compliance

Newly licenced drivers are disproportionately represented in traffic injuries and crash statistics. Despite the implementation of countermeasures designed to improve safety, such as graduated driver licencing (GDL) schemes, many young drivers do not comply with road rules. This study used a reconcep...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:The Australian and New Zealand journal of criminology
Main Author: Bates, Lyndel (Author)
Other Authors: Darvell, Millie J. (Author); Watson, Barry
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2017
In:The Australian and New Zealand journal of criminology
Year: 2017, Volume: 50, Issue: 1, Pages: 23-38
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Newly licenced drivers are disproportionately represented in traffic injuries and crash statistics. Despite the implementation of countermeasures designed to improve safety, such as graduated driver licencing (GDL) schemes, many young drivers do not comply with road rules. This study used a reconceptualised deterrence theory framework to investigate young drivers’ perceptions of the enforcement of road rules in general and those more specifically related to GDL. A total of 236 drivers aged 17-24 completed a questionnaire assessing their perceptions of various deterrence mechanisms (personal and vicarious) and their compliance with both GDL-specific and general road rules. Hierarchical multiple regressions conducted to explore noncompliant behaviour revealed that, contrary to theoretical expectations, neither personal nor vicarious punishment experiences affected compliance in the expected direction. Instead, the most influential factors contributing to noncompliance were licence type (P2) and, counterintuitively, having previously been exposed to enforcement. Parental enforcement was also significant in the prediction of transient rule violations, but not fixed rule violations or overall noncompliance. Findings are discussed in light of several possibilities, including an increase in violations due to more time spent on the road, an ‘emboldening effect’ noted in prior studies and possible conceptual constraints regarding the deterrence variables examined in this study.
ISSN:1837-9273
DOI:10.1177/0004865815589824