Behavioural adaptation and novice drivers

Teresa Senserrick, Paraskevi Mitsopoulos-Rubens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


While changes in road policies and vehicle technologies, for example, can differentially impact drivers, it could be argued that those who have only recently commenced driving are more vulnerable to unintended impacts of those changes, that is, behavioural adaptation. While this can include adaptation with positive outcomes, potentially negative outcomes are of particular concern regarding novices as their likelihood of experiencing a crash is already high relative to that of older, more experienced drivers. Novice drivers, by definition, are inexperienced and therefore yet to develop certain abilities, habits or an in-depth understanding of safety that are typically gained with increased independent driving experience in real world conditions. Many novice drivers are also young and therefore at a stage in development associated with experimentation, including risk taking. This chapter explores behavioural adaptation and road safety among novice drivers with a particular focus on young novices and negative adaptation. For the purposes of this chapter, we define novice drivers as those in the early years of independent licensed driving, that is, those on a first driver licence allowing them to drive unsupervised. We define young drivers as those under the age of 25 years. We first explore the over-representation of novices in crash and crash casualties as a complex product of inexperience and young age, and follow with examples of countermeasures where these same factors could contribute to novice driver vulnerability to negative behavioural adaptation. We include suggestions on how to avoid, or at least minimise, negative behavioural adaptation by young novice drivers in relation to the countermeasure examples explored.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBehavioural Adaptation and Road Safety - Theory, Evidence and Action
EditorsChristina M Rudin-Brown, Samantha L Jamson
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherCRC Press
Pages245 - 263
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781439856680
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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