Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2014 February Driving habits under spotlight

07/02/2014
Driving habits under spotlight
Why people ignore risks on the road is being examined in a new James Cook University study.

Driving habits under spotlight

First published February 7, 2014

Why people ignore risks on the road is being examined in a new James Cook University study.

Rebecca Pedruzzi, a JCU PhD Psychology student, will conduct Feelings, thoughts and behaviours about road threats and is inviting Queensland residents to take part in an online survey.

Ms Pedruzzi said the main aim of her research was to understand why people ignored risks on the road.

“In regional areas like North Queensland we have access to long stretches of road frequently,” she said.

“In this environment it would be unlikely to come across someone who hasn’t been affected by a road crash.”

Ms Pedruzzi said most people were biased when it comes to their driving abilities.

“Most of us believe we are better and safer drivers than everyone else, and research has repeatedly demonstrated this,” she said.

“The problem with this type of thinking is that we are more likely to attribute road crashes to other people and less likely to take precautionary actions on the road.

“The reality is we aren’t all better than the average driver - this is impossible.”

Ms Pedruzzi said to date, her research in Townsville, Ingham and the surrounding communities had showed that more than 80 per cent of respondents admit to speeding on the highway while two-thirds admitted to talking on a mobile phone while driving.

“In the past, the local community have been really supportive through participation in our research. We want to rally some more support by appealing to the community once again,” she said.

She is looking for Queensland drivers who are over 18 years of age. People who drive motorcycles and scooters are also encouraged to participate.

Participation in the research involves completing an online survey which takes about 20 minutes.

Participation is voluntary and all data collected is anonymous and confidential.

Participants will be asked about their thoughts, feelings and behaviours relating to risks on the road.

The online survey can be accessed through the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RoadThreatsStudyLink

If you have any questions about this research, please contact the principal investigator Rebecca Pedruzzi on email: rebecca.pedruzzi@my.jcu.edu.au

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175