Source: The Mercury, 15 February, 1999, p.10

Study finds emotional upset linked to accidents

ROAD safety educators are 
being urged to re-examine 
the causes of accidents 
after a survey by leading 
insurer AAMI which indi- 
cated a link between the 
psychological well-being of 
drivers and accidents. 
Researchers for AAMI believe 
the emotional stability of driv- 
ers could be a significant con- 
tributing factor to road acci- 
dents, on par with drink driving 
and speeding. Their research 
found an alarming 42% of driv- 
ers admitted to daydreaming 
behind the wheel, while 27% of 
young drivers admitted to hav- 
ing difficulty controlling their 
emotions when driving. 
In Tasmania, the Crash Inci- 
dent Rate has risen by nearly 
9%, the first time it has in- 
creased since June 1996. How- 
ever, it is still 12% under the 
national rate. 
Single-vehicle fatalities ac- 
counted for 42.6%, or nearly 
half, of the state's fatal acci- 
dents in 1998. 
Psychologist John Cheetham 
said road safety educators need 
to study motorists' state of mind 
in the hours leading up to car 
"If we look at the most recent 
research into aggressive driving 
behaviour, we see that nearly 
one third of young drivers 
[18-25 years] admit to having 
trouble controlling emotions 
when behind the wheel," he 
Mr Cheetham said a number 
of psychological factors could 
severely affect a motorist's driv- 
ing ability. 
"Drivers need to be aware of 
the internal distractions that 
can alter their driving ability. 
They include personal relation 
ship issues, professional highs 
and lows and even sexual frus- 
A driver's gender, age and 
socio-economic standing have 
also been proven to impact on 
driving ability.

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