A survey of 590 children aged seven to 15 found a link between reckless behaviour on the roads and criminal tendencies, suggesting that road safety training should concentrate on this group.
Children under 11 who reported some delinquent behaviour were five times more likely to be involved in an accident, and over-11s were twice as likely.
The research was one of several papers on children and road safety presented to the British Psychological Society last weekend.
Another paper looked at why five to nine-year-olds are over-represented in road accident statistics. It says that road safety training concentrates on teaching skills, ignoring younger children 's inability to apply their knowledge.