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Journal Article


Summala H, Rajalin S, Radun I. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2014; 73C: 27-33.


Human Factors and Safety Behaviour Group, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2014, Elsevier Publishing)






Permanent individual differences in driver behavior and accident risk have long been under active debate. Cognitive and personality factors have correlated with risky driving indicators in cross-sectional studies, and prospective cohort studies are now increasingly revealing early antecedents of risky behavior and injury mortality in adult age, with connections to stable personality traits. However, long-term stability in driver behavior or accident involvement has not been documented in a general driver population.This study reports 24-year follow-up data from a study that compared the recorded offenses between 134 drivers stopped by the police because of sustained risky driving and 121 control drivers stopped at the same locations at the same time in 1987 (Rajalin, 1994. Accid. Anal. Prev., 26, 555-562). Data were compiled from national driver records and accident statistics for the same drivers again 24 years later, and their yearly mileage and speed behavior was requested in a mail survey. The results showed that the two groups of drivers sampled on one trip a quarter of a century ago still differ from each other. The offenders still have more entries in their driver record, also when adjusted for age and mileage (OR=1.59, CI=1.03-2.46), they still report in the survey that they drive faster and overtake other cars more often. The results show that individual differences in driver behavior persist for decades, perhaps for life. However, in this on-road sample, the effect seems to be moderated by occupation which also presumably explains the lower mortality among the offenders during this 24-year follow-up.

Language: en


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