Amber Thomas, Prairie View A&M University

Good Drivers? University Students Driving Behaviors

Abstract: University students often complain about high insurance costs and being profiled by law enforcement given their youth. This study examines whether such claims seem valid in light of how young adults describe their own driving behaviors. This quantitative study describes a sample of university students’ self-reported driving behaviors, attitudes and knowledge. Survey data were collected from a convenience sample of 309 university students. The theoretical concepts explored include actions that reflect injunctive norms, descriptive norms, social learning and imitation. Data were analyzed with descriptive, correlative and regression statistics to determine if the participants engaged in safe driving practices and knew related laws. It also describes differences within the student sample in knowledge and attitudes for driving. Study outcomes were tickets, warnings, safety discussions and crashes.  Twenty-eight percent of students reported these experiences. Most had a driving safety course in less than a year. Most knew the alcohol intoxication limit but most did not know the laws on bicycle helmets and child restraints. About 85% admitted to speeding in the past month. The findings indicate that distracted driving behaviors remain problematic and the source of the distractions vary by gender. The students self-reported fewer driving accidents than the general population in one Texas county. Theoretically, why youth engage in unsafe driving practices despite safe driving knowledge is discussed. Implications for what tertiary institutions might do to assist in their students’ and others’ safety on the roads are described.

Presentation Author(s):
Amber Thomas*

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