Dangerous Drivers in Arizona Don’t Know They are Risky

When it comes to a driving record, there is great variability among motorists in the Phoenix area. Some have squeaky clean records without so much as a parking ticket to their names. Others have received so many moving violations that their licenses have been suspended or revoked, leaving them without the ability to drive legally. So with this wide range of conduct by motorists, it may not be surprising to realize that some drivers are more likely than others to cause a car accident.

But now, data from a new study indicates that these risky drivers, who are more likely than others to be at-fault for a collision, do not realize that they are risky or that their conduct may be threatening.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE and focused on male motorists in Quebec between the ages of 19 and 39. The research subjects were divided into four groups: those who had been convicted of drunk driving at least twice, those who had three or more speeding or moving violations in the prior two years, those that had drunk driving convictions and speeding or other moving infractions, and those who had none of the foregoing. In addition to their driving history, the study’s subjects revealed information about their use of alcohol and drugs, their decision making abilities and processes, what level of impulse control they displayed, and their ability to learn from their own mistakes. Participants also drove on a simulator to illustrate to the researchers how their past driving history and their personal life factors combined to influence their present driving skills.

In the end, there were marked similarities among the participants in each of the four distinct categories that did not necessarily translate to other areas. For example, repeated drunk drivers displayed a lack of concern for the safety of others and were quick to make rash decisions. Those who had a history of speeding violations were more likely to be thrill seekers in their personal lives, enjoying activities that others may forego due to concerns for their wellbeing.

A primary takeaway from the study was that the participants in the three groups of motorists with prior traffic records did not view themselves as more dangerous than other on the roadway, even though they were aware of their prior negative histories while driving. Other studies have routinely shown that speeding, drunk driving, and other moving violations directly increase the risks of a collision in Arizona but now it seems that offenders do not link their own conduct with such risks.

Researchers involved in the current study conclude that different approaches to behavior modification should be undertaken depending on the underlying factors of a driver’s habits. Focusing on a driver’s ability to affect the lives of others, for example, may be beneficial for motorists who detach themselves from their roles in public safety. Emphasizing the negative aspects of prior drinking episodes may help curb repeat drunk driving incidents in Phoenix and limit the number of drunk driving collisions that result.

In the meantime, this is a good reminder for all drivers to stop, take a look at themselves, and truly question whether they are part of the safety problem on our roads. If you suspect you are, consider slowing down, being more patient, and making fewer aggressive moves while you drive so that you will stay as safe as possible.

Prior Blog Entry:

May is National Water Safety Month, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 4, 2016.


What Are Risky Drivers Thinking?, Insurance Journal, published May 3, 2016.

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