Cognitive function and young drivers: the relationship between driving, attitudes, personality and cognition

Emma Zicat, Joanne M. Bennett*, Eugene Chekaluk, Jennifer Batchelor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    Young drivers (aged 17–25 years) are the highest risk age group for driving crashes and are over-represented in car crash statistics in Australia. A relationship between cognitive functioning and driving in older drivers (60 years and older) has been consistently supported in previous literature, however, this relationship has been neglected in research regarding younger drivers. The role of cognitive functioning in young people's driving was investigated both independently and within a current model of younger peoples driving performance. With young drivers as participants, driving behaviour, attitudes, personality and cognitive functioning were tested and driving performance was operationalised through two measures on a driving simulator, speeding and lane deviations. Cognitive functioning was found to contribute to driving behaviour, along with driving attitudes and personality traits, in accounting for young people's driving performance. The young drivers who performed better on cognitive functioning tasks engaged in less speeding behaviour and less lane deviation on the driving simulator than those who performed worse on these tasks. This result was found independent of the role of driving behaviour, driving attitudes and personality traits, accounting for unique variance in driving ability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)341-352
    Number of pages12
    JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018


    • cognitive function
    • driving
    • young drivers
    • personality


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