Fatigue and road safety for young and novice drivers

Jessica L. Paterson, Drew Dawson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Problem. Young drivers are overrepresented in motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), and injury from MVAs is a leading cause of death for youth. Fatigue is a significant contributor to MVAs for young drivers. Fatigue, Young Drivers, and Road Safety. Young drivers are vulnerable to fatigue because of biological predispositions, social factors, and inexperience. Fatigue manifests as reduced vigilance, impaired decision making, and poor hazard perception. Fatigue is also associated with dangerous driving behaviors such as aggressive driving, driver distraction, speeding, and drunk driving. Young drivers are not only more vulnerable to the negative effects of sleepiness and fatigue compared to older and more experienced drivers; they also have altered risk perception. Managing Fatigue Risk for Young Drivers. Principles of deterrence cannot be applied to fatigue as they are to other driving risks as there is no reliable, objective measure of fatigue. There is limited research addressing educational campaigns targeted at fatigued driving in young drivers. Finally, nighttime driving restrictions, enforced as part of graduated licensing systems and the primary method of control for this risk, are inadequate to manage the risks associated with fatigue. The Next Step in Managing Fatigue Risk for Young Drivers. Reducing fatigued driving behavior must rely on young drivers understanding the risk of driving while fatigued and self-regulating their behavior. However, research shows that young drivers may engage in fatigue driving despite being aware that they are impaired by sleepiness and fatigue. This failure of self-regulation could be addressed using the ego depletion model (EDM) to investigate how self-control is affected by fatigue and how perceived risk associated with fatigued driving influences self-regulatory behavior in young drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Teen and Novice Drivers
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Practice, Policy, and Directions
EditorsDonald L. Fisher, Jeff K. Caird, William J. Horrey, Lana M. Trick
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, Florida
PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781466587021
ISBN (Print)9781466587007
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Young drivers
  • Driver fatigue
  • Inexperience


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