TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PART F

Transportation Research Part F 1 (1998) 123±135

Gender and age-related di€erences in attitudes toward trac laws and trac violations
Dana Yagil *
Faculty of Social Welfare & Health Studies, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Received 20 June 1998; received in revised form 18 November 1998; accepted 20 November 1998

Abstract The study examined gender and age-related di€erences in drivers' normative motives for compliance with trac laws and in gain±loss considerations related to driving. Two age groups of male and female students, totaling 181 respondents, completed a questionnaire measuring several normative motives for compliance with trac laws, perceived gains and danger involved in the commission of trac violations, and the frequency of committing various driving violations. The results show that younger drivers and male drivers express a lower level of normative motivation to comply with trac laws than do female and older drivers. The lowest level of perceived importance of trac laws relative to other laws was found among young male drivers. The commission of trac violations was found to be related more to the evaluation of trac laws among men and younger drivers, compared to women and older drivers. The perceived danger involved in the commission of a driving violation, however, was found to constitute much more of a factor among women than among men before the commission of trac violations. Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations were more strongly pronounced among older drivers than among younger drivers. Results are discussed concerning di€erent types of attitude±behavior relationships in the context of driving. # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Trac laws; Normative motivation; Gender; Age

1. Introduction Studies examining demographic factors relating to dangerous driving show that gender is signi®cant in predicting involvement in accidents; the rate of men's involvement in fatal road accidents is twice as high as women's. Furthermore, a woman's chance of getting hurt in a trac accident is 25% lower that that of a man's (Evans, 1991). Other studies show that men's involvement in road accidents is related more often than is women's to the violation of trac laws (Simon & Corbett, 1996). Speci®cally, Storie (1977) found that whereas men were involved more
* Tel.: +972-4824-9135; Fax: +972-4824-9282; E-mail: dyagil@research.haifa.ac.il 1369-8478/99/$ - see front matter # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 1369-8478(9 8 ) 0 0 0 1 0 - 2

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often than women in accidents caused by speeding and driving under the in¯uence of alcohol, women were more frequently involved in accidents caused by judgment errors. Harre, Field, and Kirkwood (1996) found that men, more than women, engage in unsafe driving behaviors, such as driving after drinking and speeding. Age is another demographic variable frequently found to be related to risky driving. Younger drivers violate the law more often than do older drivers (Groeger & Brown, 1989; Jonah & Dawson, 1987; Parker, Reason, Manstead, & Stradling, 1995), are more involved in crashes (Evans, Wasielewski, & Von-Buseck, 1982) and su€er more fatal road accidents (Arnett, 1990; Levy, 1990). Several studies have found an interactive e€ect of gender and age on driving behavior: Young male drivers are considered a high-risk group in regard to accident involvement (Arnett, 1990), risky driving (Groeger & Brown, 1989), aggressive driving (Simon & Corbett, 1996), violation of trac laws (Jonah & Dawson, 1987) and even parking illegally in spaces reserved for people with disabilities (Fletcher, 1995). 1.1. Attitudes toward trac laws Perception of the danger involved in the commission of trac violations has frequently been described as a€ecting driving behavior (Dejoy, 1992; Finn & Bragg, 1986; Matthews & Moran, 1986; Trankle, Gelau, & Metker, 1990). Driving behavior, however, is likely to be in¯uenced by a È more comprehensive system of drivers' attitudes which is described in models of social in¯uence. Tyler (1990) presents a di€erentiation in regard to instrumental and normative motives for compliance with the law. Instrumental motives are related to the gains and losses involved in obeying or disobeying the law. In the area of driving, losses are the danger of a road accident resulting from the commission of violations or the risk of apprehension (Shinar & McKnight, 1986). The gains involved in driving are pleasure and convenience (Arnett, 1990; Rothengatter, 1988; Rutter, Quine, & Chesham 1995). Normative motives result from the internalization of the law and the perceived legitimacy of the authorities enforcing the law (Tyler, 1990). Kelman (1961) describes reactions to in¯uence and di€erentiates between compliance which is initiated by a desire to avoid punishment or to receive positive rewards, and the internalization of an attitude because it is perceived as coherent with reality as well as the individual's general system of values and beliefs. Compliance is achieved through control, and is expressed only in the presence of the in¯uence agent. On the other hand, internalization results in a long lasting e€ect of the attitude which does not depend on the presence of the in¯uence agent. 1.2. Rational choice theory explanations for gender and age in¯uence The rational-choice theory of o€ending explains crimes in terms of the costs and bene®ts of committing violations (Cornish & Clarke, 1986) and predicts that the intention to commit illegal behavior is inversely related to the perceived costs of the act. In the area of trac violations, this explanation is suggested for gender di€erences in driving behavior. Studies show that male drivers underestimate the hazards involved in various driving activities (Dejoy, 1992) and assess their driving ability more highly than do female drivers assess theirs (Dejoy, 1992; Matthews & Moran, 1986). For example, McKenna, Stanier, and Lewis (1991) found that men tended to rate their

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driving skills as better than average in all driving components, whereas such a positive bias was more limited among women. Furthermore, these attitudes toward the commission of violations are supported by social norms relating to gender. For example, Rienzi, McMillin, Dickson, and Crauthers (1996) found that adolescents considered driving after drinking to be more acceptable for boys than for girls. Yinon and Levian (1995) found that women were less a€ected than were men by the presence of other drivers in regard to entering an intersection before the trac light turned green. Baxter et al. (1990) found that speeding was reduced in the presence of older passengers, specially older women. Similar results were found with regard to age: compared with older drivers, young drivers give a lower evaluation to the risk involved in the commission of violations (Dejoy, 1992; Finn & Bragg, 1986; Trankle, Gelau, & Metker, 1990) and a higher evaluation to their driving ability È (Matthews & Moran, 1986). Several studies examining the intention to commit trac violations with attitudes and beliefs related to the behavior found that men and younger drivers expect less negative outcomes as a result of committing trac violations, perceive more social approval of such behavior and experience less control over the behavior, compared to women and older drivers (Parker, Manstead, Stradling, Reason, & Baxter, 1992). 1.3. Normative motives for compliance with trac laws The normative perspective of obedience to the law, which has not been studied as extensively as the instrumental perspective in the area of trac laws, focuses on voluntary compliance rather than compliance as a response to external rewards and punishments. Voluntary compliance results from a belief that the legal authorities have a legitimate right to dictate behavior. This view is derived either from support of speci®c authority groups, such as police ocers and judges, or from one's general support of the government. Voluntary compliance might also result from a sense of personal morality and a perception of right and wrong. Accordingly, people might disobey certain laws if this is not perceived as immoral, while obeying other laws (Tyler, 1990). Although most studies of driving behavior have focused on gain±loss considerations involved in driving, there is some indirect evidence that gender and age are likely to a€ect normative motivation for compliance with trac laws. For example, women evaluate trac violations more seriously than do men (Agostinelli & Miller, 1994; Moyano, 1997), whereas men are more angered than are women by the presence of police (De€enbacher, Oetting, & Lynch, 1994). Furthermore, studies have shown that women have more positive attitudes than men toward other areas of law. For example, McAllister (1995), examining public support for policies designed to reduce alcohol consumption, found that women were more likely to support restrictions than were men. In regard to age-related di€erences in normative motivation, a study conducted with a sample of male drivers in the Israeli military revealed that older drivers have a stronger sense of obligation to obey trac laws than do younger drivers and have more positive attitudes toward trac-law enforcement by police (Yagil, 1998a,b). In summary, previous studies have identi®ed men and young drivers as high-risk groups in regard to driving. Attitude-related explanations of these ®ndings concentrated on perceptions of dangers and gains involved in the commission of trac violations. The present study extends the

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examination of attitudes toward trac laws beyond gain±loss considerations by focusing on normative motives for compliance with trac laws, expressed in a sense of obligation to obey laws, a positive evaluation of the content of trac laws, and ranking trac laws as important relative to other laws. The following issues were explored in regard to age and gender-related di€erences: (a) the strength of drivers' normative motives for compliance with trac laws; (b) the relationships between normative motives and gain±loss considerations for compliance with trac laws; (c) the moderating e€ect of age and gender on the relationship between attitudes toward trac laws and trac violations on the one hand, the commission of trac violations on the other. 2. Method 2.1. Subjects Respondents were students at a Northern Israeli university and at a college for adult education. The sample consisted of 43 male and 47 female respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 and 49 male and 42 female students aged 30±62. Respondents ranged in the average distance they regularly drove: 48% less than 1000 km per month, 40% 1000±2000 km, and 12% more than 2000 km per month. Respondents were approached individually by a research assistant to complete a questionnaire, an activity which lasted 20±30 min. 2.2. Measures 2.2.1. Normative motives for compliance with trac laws A sense of obligation to obey trac laws was measured with ®ve statements: ``It is okay to violate trac laws sometimes as long as the driver is careful''; ``There is no harm in exceeding the speed limit sometimes''; ``A good driver can allow himself or herself to exceed the speed limit''; ``When driving at night, it is all right sometimes to drive while the trac light is red as long as the driver makes sure that there is no crossing vehicle''; ``A driver should obey all trac laws, regardless of whether they seem logical or not''; ``The enforcement of trac laws should be more ¯exible''. The answers were given on a ®ve-point scale (1=``absolutely wrong'' to 5=``absolutely correct''). Cronbach's alpha is 0.66. The perceived importance of trac laws relative to other laws was measured with a list of laws in ten areas: taxation, equality of employment, employees' rights, human lives, environmental issues, freedom of speech, property, experimentation with animals, copyrights, professional ethics. The respondents rated the relative importance of trac laws on a ®ve-point scale (1=``trac laws are de®nitely less important''; 3=``the laws are equally important'', 5=``trac laws are de®nitely more important''). Cronbach's alpha is 0.83. The evaluation of the content of trac laws was conducted with a list of 10 adjectives: ``logical'', ``important'', ``annoying'', ``exaggerated'', ``old fashioned'', ``prevent accidents'', ``unnecessary'', ``easy to comply with'', ``clear'', ``reassuring''. The respondents indicated on a ®ve-point scale (1=``to a very small extent'' to 5=``to a very large extent'') whether they agreed with each description of trac laws. Cronbach's alpha is 0.68.

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2.2.2. Gain±loss considerations relating to trac-law violations Gains relating to trac violations were measured with a list of eight motives related to the commission of a trac violation: ``arriving quickly'', ``feeling in control'', ``getting ahead of other drivers'', ``feeling challenged'', ``achieving comfort'', ``®tting in the trac'', ``adding interest to driving'', ``avoiding other drivers' anger''. The respondents were asked to indicate whether each potential gain would increase their tendency to commit a driving violation. Their answers were given on a ®ve-point scale (1=``to a very small extent'' to 5=``to a very large extent''). Cronbach's alpha is 0.85. The perceived danger involved in committing driving violations was assessed with 12 items that were identical to the violations used for measuring the frequency of committing violations. The answers were given on a ten-point scale (1=``not dangerous at all'' to 10=``very dangerous''). Cronbach's alpha is 0.83. For the statistical analyses, the scale was transformed into a scale of 1±5. 2.2.3. Self-reported commission of trac violations The frequency of committing driving violations was measured with 12 items describing these violations: ``failing to comply with a `stop' sign'', ``overtaking when prohibited'', ``failing to comply with trac light signals'', ``failing to give the right-of-way to other vehicles'', ``failing to comply with a `no entrance' sign'', ``getting o€ the road to bypass a trac jam'', ``exceeding the speed limit inside the city'', ``exceeding the speed limit outside the city'', ``turning at high speed'', ``tailgating (following closely)'', ``not fastening the safety belt'', ``driving under the in¯uence of alcohol''. The respondents indicated the frequency of committing each violation on a ®ve-point scale (1=``never'' to 5=``frequently''). Cronbach's alpha is 0.76. 3. Results The results are presented in two parts. The ®rst part employs a multivariate analysis of variance to examine gender and age-related di€erences in drivers' sense of obligation to comply with trac laws, evaluation of the content of trac laws, and the perceived importance of trac laws relative to other laws. The relationships between normative motives and gain±loss considerations involved in the commission of trac violations were examined with Pearson correlations. The second part concentrates on the mediating e€ects of age and gender on the relationship between normative motives and gain±loss considerations related to compliance with trac laws on the one hand and the commission of trac violations on the other. These e€ects were examined with moderated regression analyses. Pearson correlations were employed to examine the relationships between attitudes and compliance within each group. 3.1. Normative motives for compliance with trac laws 3.1.1. Age and gender-related di€erences Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations of drivers' attitudes toward trac laws. A MANOVA analysis was conducted with a sense of obligation to obey trac laws, perceived importance of trac laws compared with other laws, and the evaluation of trac laws as the dependent variables. The results show signi®cant main e€ects of gender (F(1,176)=4.00, p<0.01) and age (F(1,176)=4.33, p<0.01) as well as a signi®cant interaction e€ect (F(3,174)=2.90,

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Table 1 Means and standard deviations of the research variables by gender and age Women Younger drivers M A sense of obligation to obey trac laws Evaluation of trac laws Perceived importance of trac laws Perceived danger involved in the commission of violations Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations SD Older drivers M SD Total M SD Younger drivers M SD Men Older drivers M SD Total M SD Total Younger Older drivers drivers M SD M 3.31 3.53 3.66 8.33 2.11

3.44 0.69 3.51 0.64 3.47 0.66 3.06 0.72 3.23 0.74 3.15 0.73 3.29 0.73 3.74 0.46 3.49 0.50 3.61 0.50 3.34 0.61 3.57 0.61 3.46 0.61 3.52 0.59 3.35 0.58 3.62 0.67 3.50 0.64 3.27 0.75 3.70 0.67 3.50 0.73 3.30 0.68 8.19 1.43 8.52 1.43 8.38 1.41 7.68 1.30 8.11 1.30 7.92 1.30 7.95 1.39 2.21 0.66 1.99 0.73 2.10 0.69 2.44 0.86 2.22 0.75 2.33 0.78 2.31 0.74

p<=0.05). The univariate tests show a signi®cant main e€ect of age with regard to the perceived relative importance of trac laws (F(1,176)1=12.54, p<0.01): older drivers perceive the importance of trac laws more highly (M=3.66) than do younger drivers (M=3.30). Signi®cant main e€ects of gender were found with regard to a sense of obligation to obey the law (F(1,176)=11.33, p<0.01) and to the evaluation of trac laws (F(1,176)=3.77, p<0.01). The results show a signi®cant interaction e€ect with regard to the evaluation of trac laws (F(1,176)=8.60, p<0.01). The means in Table 1 indicate that women have a stronger sense of obligation to obey the law than do men (M=3.47 and M=3.15, respectively) and evaluate trac laws more positively (M=3.61 compared with M=3.46). The di€erence between men and women in the evaluation of trac laws is greater among younger drivers (M=3.74 for women and M=3.34 for men) than among older drivers (M=3.49 for women and M=3.57 for men). 3.1.2. Relationships between normative motives and gain±loss considerations Pearson correlation coecients presented in Table 2 show that, among women, a sense of obligation to obey the law and the evaluation of trac laws are signi®cantly and negatively related to perceived gains involved in the commission of trac violations. A signi®cant relationship was found among young women between perceived danger involved in the commission of violations and the perceived importance of trac laws. 3.2. Self-reported commission of trac violations 3.2.1. Contribution of normative motives and gain±loss considerations to the prediction of the commission of trac violations Table 3 presents the results of regression analyses conducted separately for men and women and for younger and older drivers, with the self-reported frequency of the commission of trac violations as the dependent variable. The amount of variance in the dependent variable, uniquely

D. Yagil/Transportation Research Part F 1 (1998) 123±135 Table 2 Pearson correlations among the research variables by gender and age A sense of obligation to obey the law Women Younger drivers Perceived danger involved in the commission of violations Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations Older drivers Perceived danger involved in the commission of violations Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations Total Perceived danger involved in the commission of violations Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations
a

129

Evaluation of trac laws

Importance of trac laws Men 0.04 Total 0.21*

Men 0.36*

Total 0.40**

Women Men Total Women 0.06 0.15 0.17 0.26*

0.33*a

À0.49** À0.01

À0.24** À0.34** À0.04 À0.15 À0.09

À0.016 À0.14

0.20 À0.37*

0.30

0.21*

0.04

0.15

0.06

0.27

0.18 À0.09

0.21* À0.14

À0.44** À0.38** À0.08

À0.23 À0.14 À0.17

0.26*

0.33**

0.31**

0.01

0.16

0.10

0.26*

0.15 À0.17

0.23 À0.10

À0.46** À0.10

À0.28** À0.15

À0.16 À0.13 À0.17

*p<0.05; **p<0.01.

Table 3 Partitioning of variance in commission of trac violations by normative motives and gain±loss considerations (values in %) Women Men Total

Younger Older Total Younger Older Total Younger Older Total drivers drivers drivers drivers drivers drivers Unique variance attributable to normative motives Unique variance attributable to gain±loss considerations Variance shared by normative motives and gain±loss considerations Total variance explained 2 5 8 15 7 50 10 67 2 22 8 32 15 11 6 32 10 34 14 58 6 13 11 30 9 7 12 28 5 39 13 57 4 16 12 32

attributable to normative motives and to gain±loss considerations, was determined by omitting each of these groups of variables from the regression equations. The results show that, among older drivers compared to younger drivers, a total higher percentage of the variance in commission of trac violations is explained by attitudes toward trac laws and trac violations. This di€erence between the age groups results from the higher percentage of the variance in the commission of driving violations explained by gain±loss considerations among older drivers (39%) compared to younger drivers (7%). Similarly, a higher percentage of variance in the commission of trac violations in explained by gain±loss considerations among women (22%) than among men (8%).

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3.2.2. Moderating e€ects of age and gender Moderated regression analyses were employed to examine the moderating e€ect of age and gender on the relationship between attitudes and the self-reported commission of trac violations. The regression analyses were conducted separately for each attitude with the commission of trac violations as the dependent variable. In the ®rst phase of the analysis, an attitude was entered, followed by a two-way interaction term (i.e.,variable  age or gender) entered in the second phase, and a three-way interaction term (i.e., variable  age  gender) entered in the third phase of the analysis. The results, presented in Table 4, show that gender moderates the relationships between the evaluation of trac laws and perceived danger on the one hand and commission of violations on the other. Pearson correlations presented in Table 5, show that whereas the evaluation of trac laws is more strongly related to the commission of violations among men than among women, the reverse is true for perceived danger, which is more strongly related to the commission of violation among women. The results in Table 4 show that the relationship of evaluation of trac laws and perceived gains with the commission of violations is moderated by age. The correlations presented in Table 5 show that evaluation of trac laws is more strongly related to the commission of trac violations among younger drivers than among older drivers. Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations, however, are more strongly related to the commission of violations among older drivers than among younger drivers. The relationship between perceived danger involved in violation of trac laws and the selfreported commission of such violations is moderated by an interactive e€ect of gender and age: perceived danger is more strongly related to commission of violations among older women than among other drivers. 4. Discussion The study examined gender and age-related di€erences in drivers' normative motives for compliance with trac laws and in gain±loss considerations related to risky driving. The relationship of these attitudes to the violation of trac laws was also examined in regard to drivers' gender and age.
Table 4 Moderated regression analyses of the moderating regression of age and gender on the relationships between attitudes toward trac laws and the commission of trac violationsa Variable  Gender A sense of obligation to obey the law Evaluation of trac laws Perceived importance of trac laws Perceived danger involved in the commission of violations Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations
a b

Variable  Age 0.41 1.94** 2.44 3.54 1.66**

Variable  Gender X Age À0.91 À0.740 À4.63 À7.18* À0.80

0.53 7.66*b 4.17 6.67* 0.82

The values presented in the table are standardized regression (Beta) weights. *p<=0.05, **p<0.01.

D. Yagil/Transportation Research Part F 1 (1998) 123±135 Table 5 Correlations with violations by gender and age Women Younger Older drivers drivers 1. A sense of obligation to obey the law 2. Evaluation of trac laws 3. Perceived importance of trac laws 4. Perceived danger involved in the commission of violations 5. Perceived gains involved in the commission of violations
a

131

Men Total Younger Older drivers drivers À0.21* À0.29

Total Total Younger Older drivers drivers Total

À0.31* À0.14 À0.08 À0.07

À0.39** À0.33

À0.36** À0.27** À0.29**

À0.09 À0.05 À0.41** À0.07 À0.41** À0.24* À0.23 À0.18

À0.18* À0.35** À0.04 À0.14* À0.21* À0.24* À0.30** À0.26*

À0.31* À0.67** À0.48** À0.38* À0.29* À0.36* À0.40** À0.49** À0.44** 0.25 0.63** 0.44** 0.14 0.44** 0.37** 0.16 0.67** 0.40**

*p<0.05, **p<0.01.

4.1. Normative motives for compliance with trac laws Women express a more positive evaluation of the content of trac laws and have a stronger sense of obligation to comply with trac laws than do men. Thus, women believe more than men that trac laws should always be obeyed, regardless of their evaluation of the situation and are more willing to accept the legitimacy of the law and to abdicate personal decision-making as to the appropriate behavior in a certain situation. For example, women are less likely than men to exceed the speed limit even if they are convinced that it would be safe to do so. Another genderrelated di€erence was found in regard to the relationship among di€erent types of attitudes: among women a negative relationship was found between attitudes toward trac laws and perceived gains involved in the commission of violations. On the other hand, among men normative motives were unrelated to gain±loss consideration for compliance with trac laws. A possible explanation for these gender di€erences in normative motives refers to gender differences in socialization processes. The upbringing of boys is often characterized by an emphasis on independence, while girls are encouraged to be dependent and obedient (Lewis, 1986). These parental massages are likely to be generalized to the willingness to accept the in¯uence of trac laws. Thus women, more than men, express unquestioning compliance with such laws. Similar explanations were suggested for the di€erences in men's and women's driving behavior. Several researchers explain gender di€erences in general law-abiding behavior by means of di€ering gender-related developmental processes. Tibbetts and Herz (1996), for example, attribute such differences to di€erent socialization processes; as a result of which, women are more a€ected by the perceived immorality of an o€ending action and have more self-control. Simon and Corbett (1996) suggest that gender di€erences in driving behavior result from di€erences in gender roles: whereas women's traditional gender-role is non-competitive and passive, and they are expected not to take risks, men are encouraged to express anger, take risks and compete, and therefore they commit more driving violations. The results regarding age di€erences show that younger drivers perceive trac laws as less important than do older drivers. Younger drivers' negative attitudes toward trac laws are likely

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to be related to their objection to authorities and specially to the police authorities (Tuohy & Wrennall, 1995). Furthermore, trac laws are likely to elicit negative responses because they restrict younger drivers' need for sensation-seeking (Arnett, 1990). Gender di€erences in the evaluation of trac laws are larger among younger drivers than among older drivers. Thus, younger men, who constitute a high-risk driving group are characterized more than are other drivers by a negative evaluation of trac laws. This attitude is likely to lead to a cyclic relation with the commission of violations. The evaluation of trac laws as obstructive may contribute to the commission of violations. A negative evaluation of these laws, however, might also serve as a post-factum justi®cation for risky driving. Furthermore, such an evaluation of trac laws might be perceived as a better justi®cation for the commission of a violation than the gains involved in risky driving. In other words, failing to comply with trac laws because they are evaluated as illogical, old-fashioned or redundant, is likely to be perceived as more moral than violating the laws for reasons related to self-interest and convenience. Moreover, the combination of a positive evaluation of trac laws and the behavior of violating trac laws is incompatible and could result in cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957). A negative evaluation of laws serves to reduce stress accompanying such an inconsistency between attitudes and behavior. 4.2. Relation of attitudes to commission of violations Whereas men evaluate trac laws more negatively than do women and have a weaker sense of obligation to comply with these laws, compliance with trac laws among men is more strongly related to the evaluation of the laws than that of women. On the other hand, compliance with trac laws among women, specially older women, is more strongly related to the perceived danger involved in the commission of violations, than that of men. A possible explanation relates to gender di€erences in the estimation of driving ability. As men tend more than women to overestimate their driving ability (Dejoy, 1992) they are likely to feel more con®dent in complying selectively with trac laws, determining according to the situation whether a trac law is relevant, and criticizing the content of these laws. In other words, men's con®dence in their driving ability, is likely to result in conditional compliance with trac laws. Age also mediated the relationship between the commission of driving violations and attitudes toward trac laws: the commission of trac violations is more strongly related to the evaluation of trac laws among older drivers than among younger drivers. On the other hand, perceived gains involved in the commission of trac violations, contribute more to the prediction of commission of violations among older drivers than among younger drivers. These results imply that the rational-choice theory describing driving behavior as a product of reasoned calculations might be more relevant to older drivers than to younger drivers. Furthermore, some theories might be more suitable to the description of the attitudes±behavior relationship among younger than to that of older drivers and the reverse. For example, the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980), describing a rational relationship between attitudes and behavior, might be more relevant to account for the relationship between the attitudes and driving behavior of older drivers. On the other hand, a model describing spontaneous behavior and its relations to attitudes, such as the attitude-to-behavior process model (Fazio, 1989), might be more applicable to younger drivers.

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In summary, the results of the present study show that high-risk drivers are characterized not only by an underestimation of the dangers involved in the commission of trac violations, but also by a low level of normative motivation for compliance with trac laws. Furthermore, among high-risk drivers a low level of normative motivation consists more of a factor in the self-reported commission of driving violations than among more cautious drivers. Several issues relating to attitudes toward trac laws present future research directions. First, the relationship of attitudes toward trac laws with attitudes toward other laws has not be established. Since driving behavior was found to be related to a driver's general life-style (Jessor, 1986; Meadows, Stradling, & Lawson, 1998; West, Elander, & French, 1993), it could be argued that attitudes toward trac laws re¯ect the individual's general position on the law in general. On the other hand, in light of the large number of otherwise law-obeying citizens who commit trac violations (Kirkham & Wollan, 1980), it is possible that trac laws represent a special section of the law that is unrelated to other attitudes. The present study, like other studies, referred to the demographic variables of age and gender, since these variables have been identi®ed as related to risky driving. Other demographic variables, however, might also a€ect driving behavior. For example, socio-economic situation, and marital status, might also be related to drivers' attitudes toward trac laws, both in terms of gain±loss considerations and in terms of respect for trac laws. The student population examined in the study represents a biased sample, mainly in terms of education. Further research with samples representing lower levels of education might be desirable, since ones education level itself is likely to a€ect driving behavior. References
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