According to Vietnamese traffic law, teenagers under 16 are not allowed to ride motorcycles. Yet, illegal motorcycle riding is rampant in Vietnamese cities. This article seeks to elucidate the factors that lead to this behaviour, and the reasons why parents permit it. The study relies on a survey of 832 parents of adolescents (16 to 18) in Ho Chi Minh City. These data are modelled based on a novel conceptual framework which combines elements of the Technology Acceptance Model, the Theory of Planned Behaviour, and the Focus Theory of Normative Conduct with a few tailored constructs and four relevant control variables (age, gender, income, and home-school distance). We find that 61% of teenagers – older boys from wealthier families in particular – use motorcycles illegally. They do so because motorcycles are seen as useful and easy to use. Parents enable unpermitted riding because it is socially acceptable to do so, and that is what teens prefer. However, fear of crashes is high among parents. Under these circumstances, the most reasonable and effective approach would be to change the law to allow teenagers as young as 16 to ride motorcycles – but only after a period of rigorous training and testing to ensure safety.
Minh Hieu Nguyen, Dorina Pojani, Duy Quy Nguyen-Phuoc, What leads underage teenagers to ride motorcycles without a permit? Utility vs parental permissiveness, Journal of Transport & Health, Volume 29, 2023, 101569, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2023.101569.