Study wants to know why young drivers speed

By Hayley Hannan

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Young drivers with a need for speed are about to become the subjects of a new Waikato University study.

Psychology lecturer Robert Isler is overseeing a student project aiming to understand why young drivers speed.

"We want to run this experiment because we're concerned about these drivers, and very often they are speeding and drinking and driving."

The study aims to reveal why young people are so vulnerable to crashes, and why people are speeding - even though they know they shouldn't, he said.

New Zealand Transport Agency figures show road crashes are the single biggest killer of 15- to 19-year-old New Zealanders, and our teen crash rates are among the worst in the developed world.

Agency figures also show teenagers are more likely to be in a crash than older drivers, based on the same time spent driving and the same distance driven.

The high crash rate is because the problem lies with the drivers - not with the nation's roads, Dr Isler said.

"It comes down, always, to the drivers," he said.

"They are what makes a road dangerous."

The month-long study will use a series of computer-based exercises to gauge psychometrics, speed choice and hazard perception.

The study calls for at least 48 male and female participants, aged 16 and over, with different classes of licence. Participants will be divided into groups based on their experience and age.

Researchers will start gathering volunteers over the next few weeks, and the experiment is expected to start mid-July.

The study information will be passed on to NZ Police and transport agencies.

- NZ Herald

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