Auto Service World
News   April 24, 2002   by Auto Service World

Research Reveals Bad Drivers Have Bad Attitude


Drivers with many accidents and violations are impatient, aggressive, distracted and oblivious, feel “entitled,” and blame their problems on other drivers, a study of U.S. driver attitude reveals.
The study was commissioned by RightFind Technology, a company developing new products that help property/casualty insurers underwrite drivers.
RightFind held focus groups drawn from 30 Massachusetts drivers with a remarkable record for highway mayhem. In the last three years, the group had 84 accidents, 49 speeding tickets and 39 other moving violations. The participants, 19 men and 11 women in three age groups, were drawn from 20 communities in metropolitan Boston.
“Our study identified several personality attributes that seem clearly linked to accident involvement,” said Donald Bashline, a founder and principal of RightFind. “Witnessing these focus groups was a revelation. These drivers displayed consistent, characteristic attitudes.”
Characteristics of these drivers include:
— Entitlement. Participants said they are entitled to behave the way they do. A majority felt they should be able to speed, go through stop signs and break other driving laws as long as they’re not hurting anyone.
— Impatience/frustration. Most of the drivers admitted they were always impatient or in too much of a hurry. Almost all acknowledged they drive too fast. In part, they attributed their behavior to the pressures of very busy lives. Most said they work hard, play hard and are always in a rush. Some blame the stress of a too-crowded life. Many said they are particularly annoyed by bulky SUVs that block their the vision.
— Shifting blame. Many acknowledged some responsibility for their accidents or violations, but most blame their driving misfortunes on other drivers. Younger drivers said older drivers cause their frustration by driving too slowly. Ironically, most participants classified themselves as “good” or “excellent” drivers.
— Aggressiveness. Almost all admitted driving too fast, and many said they often weave across lanes and cut off other drivers. As a result, they often get involved in confrontations with other drivers, including sometimes making obscene or rude gestures or comments. Most said they were very confident about how they conduct themselves, and all said they are “very outgoing” or “somewhat outgoing.”
— Inattentiveness/distractibility. Most participants said they are often distracted when they’re driving and using cell phones, listening to loud music, eating or drinking. Some said popular music caused them to become more aggressive on the highway. Many also said they’re sometimes very distracted by passengers, particularly small children. Some said that they would turn their heads to have conversations and not pay attention to the road.
The focus groups were conducted by First Market Research of Boston and Austin, Texas.
To verify the results from this limited sample, RightFind is undertaking additional quantitative research and will use those findings and the focus-group study to refine its software products, which the company expects to start selling to insurers this September, Bashline said.


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