Women judging: Is a young male drunk driver perceived as more negligent than a young female drunk driver?


Objective: It is well established that young men are the riskiest group of all drivers, and men in general more often drive under the influence of alcohol. However, potentially oversimplified representations such as a “young male problem” and “drunk driving as a male problem” can influence action and reinforce existing attitudes by selectively directing attention to stereotypically consistent behavior. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis of possible bias toward young male drivers in the context of drunk driving. Methods: We have created a scenario study investigating whether the sex of an imaginary young drunk driver would be associated with a different perceived negligence (ranging from 0 = not negligent at all to 10 = extremely negligent) among our participants. These participants were a representative sample of Finnish female driver’s license holders. The data for the study were gathered as part of a larger survey study on women’s drinking and driving culture. Results: Perceptions of how negligent a person was depended on the age of the respondents such that the older the respondent, the higher the perceived negligence. Perceived negligence was similar for male and female drivers in the scenario; however, there was an interaction effect between driver sex and the age of respondents. The youngest (20–29 years) and 2 oldest (50–69 years) groups of our respondents found the young woman to be more negligent, whereas the opposite occurred for the other 2 groups. Conclusions: The results of our imaginary scenario study of a representative sample of Finnish female driver’s license holders do not support a hypothesis that there would be a negative bias toward young male drivers in the context of drunk driving behavior. © 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis, Group LLC.

Traffic Injury Prevention