JCU studies driving habits
Why people ignore risks on the road is being examined in a new James Cook University study.
Rebecca Pedruzzi, a JCU PhD Psychology student, will conduct Feelings, thoughts and behaviours about road threats and is inviting Queensland residents to take part in an online survey.
Ms Pedruzzi said the main aim of her research was to understand why people ignored risks on the road.
“In regional areas like North Queensland we have access to long stretches of road frequently,” she said. “In this environment it would be unlikely to come across someone who hasn’t been affected by a road crash.”
Ms Pedruzzi said most people were biased when it comes to their driving abilities.
“Most of us believe we are better and safer drivers than everyone else, and research has repeatedly demonstrated this,” she said, adding that the problem with this type of thinking is that we are more likely to attribute road crashes to other people and less likely to take precautionary actions on the road.
“The reality is we aren’t all better than the average driver—this is impossible.”
Ms Pedruzzi said to date, her research in Townsville, Ingham and the surrounding communities had showed that more than 80 per cent of respondents admit to speeding on the highway while two-thirds admitted to talking on a mobile phone while driving.
“In the past, the local community have been really supportive through participation in our research. We want to rally some more support by appealing to the community once again,” she said.
Department of Psychology at James Cook University
The Department of Psychology at James Cook University has a well-earned international reputation for excellence in teaching and research and the friendliness, helpfulness, accessibility and approachability of its academic and general staff.
Tutorial classes are amongst the smallest in the country, providing the opportunity for personalized assistance. The department has very well-equipped, modern facilities on both the Cairns and Townsville campuses and excellent research infrastructure.
JCU’s Master of Psychology by coursework provides advanced academic and practical postgraduate training for professional practice at a level sufficient to meet the criteria for registration as a practicing psychologist.