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Influences on novice drivers’ speed selection – a systematic review: application and limitations of theory and methodology

In: Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, January 2016. D.C.

Authors: Teresa Senserrick, Bridie Scott-Parker, Lisa Buckley, Barry Watson

Background: Excessive speed is a primary contributing factor to young novice road trauma, including intentional and unintentional speeds above posted limits or too fast for conditions. The objective of this research was to conduct a systematic review of recent investigations into novice drivers’ speed selection, with particular attention to applications and limitations of theory and methodology.

Method: Systematic searches of peer-reviewed and grey literature were conducted during September 2014. Abstract reviews identified 71 references potentially meeting selection criteria of investigations since the year 2000 into factors that influence (directly or indirectly) actual speed (i.e., behaviour or performance) of young (age

Results: Full paper reviews resulted in 30 final references: 15 focused on intentional speeding and 15 on broader speed selection investigations. Both sets identified a range of individual (e.g., beliefs, personality) and social (e.g., peer, adult) influences, were predominantly theory-driven and applied cross-sectional designs. Intentional speed investigations largely utilised self-reports while other investigations more often included actual driving (simulated or ‘real world’). The latter also identified cognitive workload and external environment influences, as well as targeted interventions.

Discussion and implications: Applications of theory have shifted the novice speed-related literature beyond a simplistic focus on intentional speeding as human error. The potential to develop a ‘grand theory’ of intentional speeding emerged and to fill gaps to understand broader speed selection influences. This includes need for future investigations of vehicle-related and physical environment-related influences and methodologies that move beyond cross-sectional designs and rely less on self-reports.