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Speeding or not speeding? When subjective assessment of safe, pleasurable and risky speeds determines speeding behaviour

Author(s): Florent Lheureux

Journal: European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
ISSN 1889-1861

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 79;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: speeding | speed limit | speed assessment | attitudes | risk perception

It is hypothesized that in a given situation speeding behaviour is determined by three subjective speed assessments: the speed perceived as the riskiest, the speed perceived as the safest, and the speed perceived as the most pleasurable. Specifically, if these assessments are high, drivers are expected to circulate faster. Such speed perceptions are also viewed as influenced by attitudes towards speed and speed limits. 177 car drivers, included 102 men and 75 women between 18 and 72 years (M = 43, SD = 21) and with a mean driving experience of 22 years (SD = 19), answered to a questionnaire about their attitudes towards speed and speed limits, the speeds they considered as the riskiest, the safest, and the most pleasurable in three different contexts, as well as their usual speed. Data analyses (ANOVA and path analyses) confirmed the influence of the three types of speed assessment on the usual speed and that the influence of attitudes on this behaviour is mediated by these three assessments. Results suggest that not only a change in attitudes and beliefs is desirable, but a concrete specification (e.g., 100 Km/h) of speeds perceived as safe, pleasurable and risky is also needed in order to reduce speeding behaviour.
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