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Young Drivers' Perceptions of Peer Pressure, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drugs, and Involvement in Road Accidents

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies: A Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society Volume: 21 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 3-14
Revital Sela-Shayovitz
Date Published
March 2008
12 pages
This study aims to contribute to the existing literature by investigating the relationship between young drivers’ perceptions of peer pressure from other passengers in the car on the one hand, and compliance with traffic regulations, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and involvement in traffic accidents on the other.
Examination of the peer pressure indicators provides substantial support for the social facilitation hypothesis. Young drivers’ perceptions of driving as a means of attaining social prestige and their apprehension about their friends’ evaluations correlated positively and significantly with their involvement in traffic violations and car accidents. Therefore, the probability of being involved in an accident with casualties increases among drivers who are apprehensive about their friends’ evaluations or who view driving as a means of attaining social prestige. The study also indicated that three of the peer pressure indicators (apprehension about friends’ evaluations, peer intervention in decisions, and pressure to make traffic violations), had a positive effect on driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The research findings have practical implications for prevention and intervention among young drivers, as well as policy initiatives and the enforcement of laws. Traffic accidents are one of the most serious social problems in modern society. Inexperienced young drivers are a group that is at high risk for traffic accidents. The study deals with the relationship between young drivers’ perceptions of the peer pressure experienced from passengers in the car and their subsequent driving patterns. Data were obtained from self-report questionnaires administered to 710 drivers aged 17.5-21. Tables, references