Changes in seatbelt use after licensing: A developmental hypothesis for novice drivers

Tsuneo Matsuura*, Toshiro Ishida, Kazuma Ishimatsu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This study tested the hypothesis that seatbelt use reflects a person's driving style or attitude towards safety, and that novice drivers' attitudes become inappropriate temporarily after licensing, and go back to being appropriate when more experience has been gained. We examined seatbelt use by university students (N = 387) at a university parking lot for 19 days between April and November. Personal information about the participants was obtained from parking stickers and supplementary questionnaires asking about their driving history and attitudinal variables, such as self-assessed skill and safety. A longitudinal study indicated that seatbelt use decreased among novice drivers, but remained the same for more experienced drivers. Cross-sectional studies revealed a U curve change in seatbelt use after licensing. Regression analysis showed that overconfidence about driving skills accounted for the novice drivers' tendency to avoid using seatbelts. These results supported the hypothesis, especially for male novice drivers. The reason and implications of the changing attitude of novice drivers towards safety are discussed in terms of driver development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)299-311
    Number of pages13
    JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Attitudes
    • Driving experience
    • Novice drivers
    • Overconfidence
    • Seatbelt use

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Psychology
    • Transportation


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