Change and Continuation: Masculinity, Driving, and Disability in the Lives of “Young Problem Drivers” in the Aftermath of Severe Road Traffic Accidents
Article written by Rannveig Svendby and Ulla-Britt Lilleaas, published in NORA- Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, May 2019.
In research on traffic injury prevention, young male drivers willing to take risks are known as “young problem drivers” and have been identified as the greatest road safety challenge. This intersectional study draws on interviews and participant observation, and employs a masculinity perspective to explore how 12 young, male drivers who were injured in severe accidents assess driving after their accidents and ways in which they construct their identities as disabled men. While the participants cited their accidents as a turning point that prompted a change in their attitudes and practices regarding driving, they often continued to engage in deviant driving practices, especially speeding. In addition, the men tended to distance themselves from the social category of disability. We propose that the field of traffic injury prevention would benefit from supplementing the biological approach in the research literature with cultural perspectives on the internal logics and prevailing masculinity discourses that guide the choices of young, male drivers. Also, we argue that the men’s negotiation of disability illustrates the stigma still attached to the social category of disability.