Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Country drivers are risk takers

New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.

December 12, 2013 4:01am

New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.

The study examined the behaviours and attitudes of 92 country drivers with poor driving histories, including repeat speeding offenders, drink drivers and others who had received a licence suspension or disqualification in the past.

Among the key findings was that many speed on country roads because they think they know the roads and irresponsibly drink drive when they feel that there is no other way to get home.

Risky drivers aged 19 to 35 in three regional municipalities — Cardinia, Mitchell and Golden Plains Shire (taking in part of the Ballarat area) — each took part in two focus groups held six months apart.

They were questioned about their driving habits and attitudes towards road safety.

TAC chief executive officer Janet Dore said the study focused on regional drivers because vehicle occupants were three times more likely to be killed and 40 per cent more likely to be seriously injured on regional roads than in Melbourne.

In the first round of focus groups, 67 per cent of males stated that within the past six months they had driven over the legal alcohol limit.

That figure had decreased to 61 per cent when the second session was held in May this year.

Females were significantly less likely to drink drive, with 33 per cent saying they had driven under the influence in the six months before the first focus group, decreasing to 19 per cent by May this year.

In the first sessions, 49 per cent of all respondents stated they ‘‘speed in 100km/h zones often’’, with 31 per cent saying they did it ‘‘occasionally’’.

By the second focus group speeding had reduced, with 34 per cent doing it often and 53 per cent doing it occasionally.

Ms Dore said it was encouraging that the process of discussing the potential consequences of their risky driving during the first round of focus groups had appeared to result in a decrease in risky behaviour by the second round.

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