Testing the effects of a volitional intervention on drivers' compliance with speed limits: Selected findings from a study on implementation intentions

M.A. Elliott, C.J. Armitage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Road safety education is one of the main tools available for promoting safer driver behaviour. Underpinning educational interventions is the idea that increasing (decreasing) drivers' motivation to perform 'safe' ('unsafe') driving behaviours (e.g. through attitude change) will influence actual on-road behaviour (e.g. increased compliance with speed limits, increased following distances, reduced drink-driving, and so on). Empirical evidence on the relationship between goal intentions (overall summary of motivation to perform a behaviour) and behaviour provides support for this view. In the present context, a series of prospective studies have found correlation coefficients for the 'goal intention - speeding behaviour' relationship that are in the range of r = 0.48 to r = 0.76 (Conner et al., 2007; Elliott et al., 2003, 2007). These findings are consistent with research in other domains (e.g. Armitage and Conner, 2001) and demonstrate that goal intentions have a reliable association with behaviour. However, it is clear that the relationship between motivation and behaviour is not perfect. In the present context, this implies that, for many drivers, there is a 'gap' between what they intend to do and what they actually do. This intention-behaviour gap was the starting point for the present study, which was concerned with testing a volitional intervention, based on Gollwitzer's (1993, 1996, 1999) concept of implementation intentions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBehavioural Research in Road Safety: Seventeenth Seminar
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • traffic safety
  • road safety
  • speed limits
  • volitional intervention

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