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Sensation seeking and peer passenger influence on risky driving among novice drivers in Udupi Taluk, India

Published:January 13, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cegh.2019.12.020

      Abstract

      Background

      Sensation Seeking is one of the complex behaviors among novice drivers, which leads to road traffic injuries. Globally, road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death among young people, the main cause of death among those who fall in the age group of 15–29 years. Road traffic injuries are currently estimated to be the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups globally and are predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) report, low and middle-income countries lose approximately 3% of GDP as a result of road traffic crashes.

      Objective

      To assess the sensation-seeking behavior among novice drivers in Udupi Taluk.

      Methodology

      The cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the sensation-seeking behavior among novice drivers with an estimated sample size of 150. The study participants were selected by using the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) form V questionnaire developed by Zuckerman. The questionnaire includes 40 questions which are divided into four sub-scales which include boredom susceptibility, disinhibition, experience-seeking, thrill and adventure-seeking. Each sub-scale contains ten items and scoring is given with two options as High and Low. Data collected is analyzed by using Microsoft Excel, SPSS and presented as descriptives i.e., frequency and percentage.

      Results

      The results were examined according to the levels of sensation seeking scale. Sensation seeking for boredom susceptibility is 22.3% (High), disinhibition is 27.27% (High), experience seeking is 28.6% (High), thrill and adventure-seeking is 60.6% (High). Cross-tabulating the questions with age, gender, education was statistically significant (p < 0.05) associated with risky driving behavior among novice drivers.

      Conclusion

      Thus, this study reveals that most of the participants are showing a high percentage of thrill and adventure-seeking compared to the remaining three sub-scales, which calls for localized intervention targeting it.

      Keywords

      1. Introduction

      Sensation seeking is defined as “one's preference for varied, novel and complex situations and experiences and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experience”.
      • Zuckerman M.
      Behavioral Expressions and Biosocial Bases of Sensation Seeking.
      The term Risky driving behavior “a pattern of driving behavior including but not limited to legal infringements like speeding, tailgating, improper passing, and lane usage, right of way violations, illegal turns, and control signal violations that place drivers and other peoples at risk of morbidity and mortality”.
      • Gururaj G.
      • Uthkarsh P.S.
      • Rao G.N.
      • Jayaram A.N.
      • Panduranganath V.
      Burden, pattern and outcomes of road traffic injuries in a rural district of India.
      Novice drivers, by definition “are inexperienced and therefore yet to develop specific abilities, habits or an in-depth understanding of safety that are typically gained with increased independent driving experience in real-world conditions".
      • Senserrick T.
      • Mitsopoulos-Rubens E.
      Behavioural adaptation, and novice drivers.
      A road traffic injury is a fatal or non-fatal injury incurred as a result of a collision on a public road involving at least one moving vehicle. The WHO Global Status report on road safety in 2015, a total number of road traffic deaths have reported at 1.25 million per year. During 2011, a total of 4, 97,686 road accidents were reported by all states/UTs.
      • World Health Organization
      Global Status Report on Road Safety: Time for Action.
      (
      Globally, road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death among young people, the main cause of death among those who fall in the age group of 15–29 years. Road traffic injuries are currently estimated to be the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups globally and are predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) report, low and middle-income countries lose approximately 3% of GDP as a result of road traffic crashes.
      • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH)
      Road Accidents in India. Transport Research Wing.
      According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the Government of India reports statistically, during the calendar year 2016, the total number of RTA is reported at 4,80,652 causing injuries to 4,94,624 persons and claiming 1,50,785 lives in the country. This would translate, on an average, into 1317 accidents and 413 accident deaths taking place on Indian roads every day; or 55 accidents and 17 deaths every hour. As compared to 2015, the numbers of road accidents and injured victims have declined in 2016 by 4.1% and 1.1% respectively. However, the number of persons killed in the road crash has increased by 3.2% since 2015. The number of fatal accidents has increased consistently since 2005 and seen a sharp rise from 1,31,726 in 2015 to 1,36,071 in 2016. Consequently, accident severity expressed in terms of several persons killed per 100 accidents, has gone up from 29.1% in 2015 to 31.4% in 2016. The age profile of RTA victim for the year 2016 reveals that the youth of age group 18–35 years accounted for 46.3% (69,851 persons) and age group of 18–45 accounts for 68.6% (1,03,409) fatalities.

      Udupi District Police. Uduppolice. Blogspot in (internet).Press Note: SP Letter to All Colleges and Schools in Udupi District for Helmet Purpose.

      In Udupi district, as per statistics are given by the District Police Authorities, in 2012 the total number of accidents was 1194 whereas among them 152 were fatal and remaining were non-fatal. In 2014, a total number of accidents was 1181, whereas fatal were 199 and non-fatal was 982. As compared to 2014, there is a declining trend in 2015 where total numbers of accidents were 787. Even though there is a declined report, there is a chance of increasing the severity of accidents in the coming years.
      Recommendations for driver licensing and traffic law enforcement in India aiming to improve road safety.
      Characteristics of risky driving behaviors among the novice drivers are speeding, non-usage of the helmet, a distraction from the peer groups, non-adherence to the traffic rules.

      2. Methodology

      The study was a cross-sectional study conducted in the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Udupi Taluk, Udupi district. The study was conducted for a period of 6 months, i.e., from December 2017 to May 2018. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India. The estimated sample size for this study is 150 (Considering 50% as the anticipated prevalence, CI-0.95, power of the study-0.8) which is calculated by considering the proportion obtained in a study conducted by Zuckerman. Participants who visited the RTO office between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. were selected by using convenient sampling method. The participants were explained about the purpose of the study, and written informed consent was obtained. Data regarding sensation seeking was collected by administering a standard questionnaire. The data collected was entered by using Epi-info software and analyzed by using Microsoft Excel and SPSS v 15. Analyzed data is represented in the form of descriptive, i.e., frequency and percentage, mean and median. Chi-Square test was to determine the association between the variables with significant p value < 0.05.

      3. Results

      The study involved 150 participants, 112 (74.7%) were males, and 38 (25.3%) were females ranging in the age group of 18–25 years (See Table 1). Demographic characteristics revealed that the majority were students from the age group 21–25 years (56.7%) followed by 18–20 years (43.3%) (Table 1, Table 3). The majority of the participants in the RTO office were students were 91 (60.7%) followed by those who were employed 59 (39.3%) (see Table 1). As per descriptive statistics, boredom susceptibility low as 77.5% followed by high as 22.5% (Table 2). This shows that novice drivers are less affected by the boredom susceptibility but chances of getting into risky driving behavior, disinhibition low as 72.7% followed by high as 27.27%. Low levels of disinhibition are involved in minor risky behavior whereas high levels of disinhibition 27.27% were likely to be affected, experience seeking low as 71.4% and followed by high as 28.6% because novice drivers are new and inexperienced for risky driving, so the results show fewer chances of getting into risky driving (see Table 2). Thrill and Adventure are seeking where participants with extreme levels high as 60.6% and followed by low as 39.4%. High levels of sensation seeking will be more prone to risky driving, and in most of the participants' results showing high thrill and adventure seeking. Overall sensation shows that Boredom susceptibility high as (22.5%), low as (77.5%) followed with Disinhibition high as (27.3%), low as (72.7%) whereas Experience seeking shows high as (28.6%), low as (71.4%) and with Thrill adventure-seeking high as (60.6%), low as 39.4%.
      Table 1Demographic distribution.
      Age (years)n%
      18–206543.3
      21–258556.7
      Gendern%
      Female3825.3
      Male11274.7
      Educationn%
      Student9160.7
      Working5939.3
      Table 2Overall sensation seeking scale.
      SSSHigh%Low%
      BS22.577.5
      DIS27.372.7
      ES28.671.4
      TAS60.639.4
      Table 3Cross –tabulations.
      Age and Disinhibition
      DIS(Q1)18–20yrs21–25yrsTotalp-value
      High7 (10.8%)20 (23.5%)270.05
      Low58 (89.2%)65 (76.5%)123
      Total6585150
      Education and Boredom Susceptibility (BS)
      BS (Q15)studentWorkingTotalp-value
      High7 (7.7%)12 (23.5%)190.042
      Low84 (92.3%)47 (76.5%)131
      Total6585150
      Age and Experience Seeking (ES)
      ES (Q4)1820yrs2125yrsTotalp-value
      High31 (47.7%)25 (29.4%)560.02
      Low34 (52.3%)47 (70.6%)94
      Total6585150
      Age and Experience seeking (ES)
      ES (Q37)18–20yrs21–25yrsTotalp-value
      High20 (30.8%)25 (14.1%)320.01
      Low34 (69.2%)47 (85.9%)118
      Total6585150
      Gender and TAS
      TAS (Q11)FemaleMaleTotalp-value
      High21 (55.3%)25 (22.3%)460.042
      Low17 (44.7%)87 (77.7%)104
      Total38112150
      Education and TAS
      TAS (Q38)StudentWorkingTotalp-value
      High64 (70.3%)50 (84.7%)1140.05
      Low27 (29.7%)9 (15.3%)36
      Total38112150

      4. Discussion

      The study found that there is an association with higher scores to Sensation Seeking Scale, particularly with subcomponents TAS. Our results show that there is a relationship between risky driving behavior and sensation-seeking behavior, which is mediated by the trait of sensation seeking. Boredom Susceptibility (BS) results show that ‘low levels’ of sensation seeking is pursued among novice drivers. A study conducted by Verma A et al.

      Seema Mehrotra, Paulomi M. Sudhir, Manoj k. Sharma et al. Emotions and Two Wheeler.

      reveals that person with ‘low levels’ of boredom susceptibility usually found to have high sensation behavior. Therefore, risky driving among novice drivers is found to have high in both ‘high’ and ‘low’ boredom susceptibility. This plays a crucial role in novice drivers who are more prone to road crashes/injuries. Consequences related to boredom susceptibility are an aversion to repetitive actions, tedious tasks.
      • Zuckerman M.
      Sensation Seeking and Risky Behavior.
      Disinhibition (DIS) results show that ‘low’ levels of Sensation seeking followed by ‘high’ levels. Disinhibitions among novice drivers are ‘low’ means that persons are afraid of driving with consumption of alcohol and after partying because they are new to driving experiences compared to experienced people in driving. Experience Seeking (ES) results show that ‘low’ levels of sensation seeking, which are not likely affected by road crashes. A study conducted by Senserrick shows that novice riders and their likelihood of experiencing crash are high relative to older and experienced drivers. Crashes are involved due to lack of confidence and unable to balance the driving, particularly in traffic.
      Thrill and Adventure Seeking (TAS) results show ‘high levels’ of sensation seeking, which are more prone to road crashes. Zuckerman study revealed that TAS is an unusual seeking behavior, involving in risky activities and exciting.
      • Hatfield J.
      • Fernandes R.
      • Job R.S.
      Thrill and Adventure Seeking as a modifier of the relationship of perceived risk with risky driving among young drivers.
      Novice drivers are most likely to indulge in risk-taking adventures and feel so excited to drive the vehicle as this enhance the chances of RTAs. Studies by Hatfield et al.
      • Vingilis E.
      • Seeley J.
      • Wiesenthal D.
      • et al.
      Street racing and stunt driving in Ontario, Canada: results of a web-based survey of car and racing enthusiasts.
      and Vingilis et al.
      • Ruikar M.
      National statistics of road traffic accidents in India.
      shows that high levels of thrill and adventure seeking can be associated with the persons who need to seek unusual experiences through exciting and risk-taking activities like speeding, overtaking.

      5. Conclusion

      The study results show that the Zuckerman Sensation Seeking Scale is used to identify and also to assess the sensation-seeking behavior among novice drivers. The findings of the study from the Sensation Seeking Scale reveal that most of the participants are showing the high percentage of Thrill and Adventure Seeking compared to remaining subscales. The results suggest that awareness programs and education related to road safety and need to conduct further research regarding sensation seeking and influence of peer groups.

      Declaration of competing interest

      There is no conflict of interest.

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