Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

Motor sports fans are riskier drivers

Written by Ani | Washington | Posted: May 25, 2009 1:39 pm

Those employing drivers for their cars most likely ensure that the persons they choose are sober and possess valid driving licences,but the findings of an Australian study now suggest that people better make an addition to their checklists—he should not have any interest in motor sports.

Paul Tranter and James Warn,of the University of New South Wales,have found that being a race fan increases a person’s likelihood of speeding in the car,and seeing nothing wrong in it. The researchers point out that several factors have been found to influence a driver’s attitude towards speeding and aggressive driving. This includes age,gender and what psychologists call “sensation seeking propensity”. According to them,this thrill-seeking behaviour may also be a result of a driver’s environment.

Tranter and Warn wanted to see whether following professional motor sports as a fan added to the need to be fast and furious,and specifically considered whether social cognitive theory explained a fan’s need to imitate their favourite drivers by pushing the limits on public roads. In their latest study,the researchers looked only at drivers 25 and older with at least 2 years driving experience,who are considered to be a much safer population by insurance companies.

The researchers asked residents of a small NSW town for three things: their level of interest in motor sports; their attitudes toward speeding and traffic laws; and their own self-reported negative driving habits. The strongest correlation in the group was between an interest in racing and a pro-speeding attitude. The researchers said that even among the safer,older group of fans,an intentional lead foot was found to exist. “There remains a need to get the message out to the driving community that speed is linked to accidents,and that attitudes that condone speeding are a road safety problem,” Live Science quoted Tranter as writing. He adds that another idea would be to shift a young driver’s need for risk taking to other sports,such as downhill skiing or mountain biking,which that have a more positive “thrill to bad outcome” ratio.

The study has been published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

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