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Research Reports Reveal Fleeing Driver Motivators

Police have released research reports aimed at improving understanding of drivers’ motivations for fleeing.

“We know that what we do, how we approach a potential fleeing driver event, has an influence on the behaviour of the driver, but now we have an insight into what else might motivate a driver to flee,” says Superintendent Steve Greally, Director Road Policing.

“Thrill-seeking and related motivations were not identified as a primary motivator according to insights from the fleeing driver research reports.

However, some fleeing drivers felt fleeing was worth the risk (compared to the punishment they faced for other offending) which is alarming to hear.”

Six research reports were commissioned by the Evidence-Based Policing Centre (EBPC) as a part of the recommendations from the Fleeing Driver Review (FDR) report ‘Fleeing drivers in New Zealand – a collaborative review of events, practices and procedures’.

  • Improving the use of post-event interviews
  • Literature review of youth motivations
  • Relationships with other offending
  • Interventions
  • Media influences
  • Individual factors

Each research report discusses the motivations of fleeing drivers within a focused theme and identifies findings that will help Police better understand why drivers flee and identify potential prevention opportunities about how to respond.

“While Police can’t control the behaviour of a fleeing driver, we can choose how we respond, and these insights will be used to inform our approach to fleeing driver events.”

The findings show that the quality of the interactions with police of both individuals, and their peers and family, strongly influence their perceptions, particularly where these were negative.

Any decision to flee can put the driver and passengers in the fleeing vehicle, public and Police at risk of serious injury or death.

“As a committed Road to Zero partner our dedicated road policing staff are out on our roads every day targeting and preventing unsafe behaviour to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

Any death or serious injury from a road crash is one too many, especially if it could have been prevented.”

The research programme was facilitated by an Advisory Group which included members from the Ministry of Justice, Oranga Tamariki, Department of Corrections, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, as well as the Chief Science Advisor (Justice) and experts in brain development and behavioural insights.

All reports can be found on the Police website - https://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publication/fleeing-driver-research-reports.

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