Exposure to pro-speeding content higher in speeders: USC study | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Exposure to pro-speeding content higher in speeders: USC study

Self-reported exposure to content encouraging or promoting speeding on social media and mass media was higher in speeders compared to non-speeders, according to the findings by USC’s Road Safety Research Collaboration Unit.


The research by  Research fellow Dr Kayla Stefanidis, Professor James Freeman, Michelle Nicolls and Senior Research Fellow Dr Verity Truelove was published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. The authors discuss their findings in an article published today in The Conversation.


"Our findings suggest many people believe they are regularly exposed to pro-speeding content online or via friends, and this might increase their risk of speeding in the real world, " Dr Stefanidis said.


She said the findings were consistent with studies showing social media, mass media and one’s peers can all influence subsequent risk-taking behaviour.


The anonymous survey of 628 Queensland motorists aged between 17 and 88 years examined factors that may encourage speeding and contribute to making it socially acceptable.


Key findings include:


  • Half of the sample admitted they exceeded the speed limit more than 10% of the time they drive


  • On average, participants believed they came across social media content encouraging speeding behaviour 29% of the time while using social media


  • On average, they believed they came across mass media content encouraging speeding behaviour 40% of the time


  • On average, they believed their friends exceeded the speed limit 39% of the time


Lead author, Dr Kayla Stefanidis said further research was needed to clarify whether increasing exposure to this kind of content directly increases the propensity to speed.


“It could be that people who engage in speeding seek out pro-speeding material because they like it, or notice it more than others because they’re more attuned to it,” Dr Stefanidis said.

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