Workplace drivers more likely to show anger and aggression, according to MUARC study

Those who drive for work purposes are more likely to show anger and aggression on the roads than those who drive for personal reasons, according to a MUARC survey.

The online survey asked participants about their tendency to demonstrate anger across various driving situations, as well as the frequency of aggressive driving and whether they had been involved in a crash or received a traffic infringement in the previous 12 months.

Over 600 licenced drivers from the Australian Capital Territory completed the online survey as part of a research program funded by the ACT Road Safety Fund.

Drivers were classified as work or personal drivers based on the percentage of the time they drove for each reason.

Work drivers reported slightly higher tendencies to become angry than personal drivers, especially in situations where there was perceived danger from others.

However, work drivers and personal drivers showed no difference in anger tendencies over travel delays or perceived hostility from others.

The study recommends tailored interventions for work drivers. As these drivers are more likely to be angered by the behaviour of others, there would be benefits in workplace strategies to manage anger when drivers are confronted by the potential dangers of other road users.

Intervention strategies may also focus on managing drivers’ aggression. The study showed that aggression was slightly more frequent among those who drove for work purposes due to their marginally more frequent use of the vehicle to express anger (i.e. tailgating, speeding, etc.). More specifically, work drivers showed a higher tendency to use their vehicle to express anger if they had received a traffic ticket in the previous 12 months. This relationship did not exist for personal drivers.

The study was authored by Dr Amanda Stephens, Assoc Prof Sharon Newnam and Dr Kristie Young.

To view the study, please click here. (PDF purchase or access through your institution will be required)