The relation between cognitive control and risky driving in young novice drivers

V. Ross*, E. Jongen, T. Brijs, R. Ruiter, K. Brijs, G. Wets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigated if decreased cognitive control, reflected in response inhibition and working-memory performance, is an underlying mechanism of risky driving in young novice drivers. Thirty-eight participants aged 17 to 25 years old, with less than 1 year of driving experience, completed a simulated drive that included several risky driving measures. Measures of response inhibition and verbal working memory were negatively associated with the standard deviation of the lateral lane position. Response inhibition, but not working memory, was also negatively related with the detection of, reaction to, and crashes with road hazards. Unexpectedly, increased cognitive control did not always relate to decreased risky driving. Visuospatial working-memory performance related positively with yellow-light running and negatively with the minimal following distance inside the city center. The findings evidence the role of cognitive control in explaining risky driving in young novice drivers. This relationship, however, differed per cognitive function and per driving parameter. Implications for future research and traffic safety interventions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
JournalApplied Neuropsychology-Adult
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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