Study reveals driving trait tied to psychopathic behaviour

Man in blazer using and talking on smartphone while driving a car at sunset, looking carefully at the road, back view.

It could occasionally seem like there are only psychopaths on the roads if you commute at rush hour.

However, researchers have discovered a common driving practice that can indicate a person is a psychopath.

The use of a mobile phone while driving is significantly correlated with psychopathic tendencies, according to research from the University of Regensburg.

Particularly in the areas of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, drivers who scored highly on these negative personality traits were far more likely to use their phones and to feel less guilty about it.

Additionally, the study discovered that drivers with high psychopathy scores had a third higher likelihood than the general population of having broken the law in the previous 12 months.

In order to gather information for the study, 989 German drivers completed surveys measuring each of the three dark triad personality traits on a scale of one to five.

Sixty-one percent of respondents to their study acknowledged using a smartphone at least occasionally while driving.

Nonetheless, the researchers found a correlation between increasing phone use while driving and higher scores for any one of the three dark triad features.

The researchers, in their paper published in PLOS One, write: “Thus, people with Dark Triad personalities tend to use their phones more often while driving.”

It was also shown that drivers who scored higher on narcissism and psychopathy were less likely to feel bad about their problematic driving habits.

Individuals with high scores for Machiavellianism—a personality characteristic frequently associated with manipulative behavior—were more likely to attempt to conceal their phone use.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that psychopathic characteristics were a reliable indicator of a person’s likelihood of committing a traffic crime.

The researchers estimate that there is a 9.89% chance that a person with a minimal psychopathy score of one has driven drunk within the previous 12 months.

A person with an average degree of psychopathy has a 24% chance of having committed a driving violation.

This increases the likelihood of a psychopathy score of 4.33, the maximum the researchers could assess, to 56%.

Additionally, participants underwent testing for problematic smartphone use (PSU), which is defined as using phones excessively to the point that it adversely affects other aspects of life.

The issue may be shockingly widespread, the researchers speculate, as 50% of survey participants claimed they could not function without a smartphone.

PSU was determined to be the best predictor of using a phone while driving, independent of other personality factors.

Those who answered positively to questions like ‘When I get bored while driving, I spend time on my smartphone’ were also much more likely to exhibit PSU.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,142 persons in the US lost their lives in car crashes in 2019.

422 persons lost their lives in crashes that year while at least one of the drivers was preoccupied with a phone.

Therefore, the researchers propose that focusing on people’s phone-related connections could contribute to road safety.

The researchers suggest that by lowering PSU in daily life, people will become less distracted and spend less time on their phones while driving.

The researchers added: “Overall, PSU is an excellent predictor regardless of the Dark Triad personality traits.

“Since this factor can be changed more easily than personality, PSU should be targeted in public safety interventions.”

1 thought on “Study reveals driving trait tied to psychopathic behaviour”

  1. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    This is a problem that needs robust punishment. A driving ban should be elevated to a suspended sentence served by means of a ban. Anybody caught driving while banned would go straight to jail and the subsequent ban would be at least double, also served inside. All but the most stupid would re-think their behviour.

    Those evading the police would face further jail time for dangerour driving, criminal damage if they crash and if they resist arrest and assault an officer, a bit longer inside as a result. The car would of course be uninsured, so a bit longer for that and if either stolen or TWOC some more time for that. Tot it all up and 10 years inside would be a reality.

    If, once this sentence is completed, which would mean release after 120 months, or longer if they play up inside, they are stupid enough to come out and do it again, the minimum sentence would be twice as long. That is right. 20 years without remission.

    The message is very simple. Play the game or be removed from circulation because you are a risk to society.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top