Title: The Development of Children's and Young People's Attitudes to Driving: A Critical Review of the Literature

Organisation: Department for Transport
Date uploaded: 11th January 2011
Date published/launched: September 2010

This report provides a critical review of the literature on the development of children's and young people's attitudes to driving and being a car passenger.

The overall purpose of this report is to provide a critical review of the literature on the development of children’s and young people’s attitudes to driving and being a car passenger.

The aim is to synthesise existing evidence to help policymakers better understand how, when and to what extent they can target the development of road use skills in children as they move from being a pedestrian and cyclist to being a driver and passenger.

It is well established that young novice drivers, especially if they are male, are at greater risk of accidents than any other group. Extensive research has addressed a range of factors that might help explain this association, in order to inform attempts to mitigate risk.

However, relatively little of this research has been concerned with the pre-driver period, and the influences that might extend from this into becoming a driver. This is despite the fact that: (a) age and gender differences in the risk pattern rule out any simple account in terms of inexperience; and (b) the elevated risk among members of this group emerges too rapidly to be due solely to behaviours acquired at that point.

What work there has been on the pre-driver period has tended, moreover, to focus predominantly on attitudinal processes to the exclusion of other types of influence. It has also lacked a developmental orientation aimed specifically at considering continuity and change over the transition to becoming a driver.

The existing literature, therefore, presents a restricted basis for understanding the influences that might be operating over this whole period, and thus planning for interventions at the pre-driver stage.

This review is intended to generate a fresh approach, building on what is known
from past research, but integrating it within a wider developmental perspective.

For more information contact:
Andrew Tolmie

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