Source: The Mercury, 15 February, 1999, p.10
By AMANDA SIMS 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 accidents. "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 said. 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- tration." A driver's gender, age and socio-economic standing have also been proven to impact on driving ability.
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