Views of U.S. drivers about driving safety
Williams, Allan F.
Journal of Safety Research
To assess how drivers view dangers on the highway, what motivates them to drive safely, how they say they reduce their crash and injury risk, and how they rate their own driving skills.Results:
Most drivers rated their skills as better than average. The biggest motivating factor for safe driving was concern for safety of others in their vehicle, followed by negative outcomes such as being in a crash, increased insurance costs, and fines. The greatest threats to their safety were thought to be other drivers' actions that increase crash risk such as alcohol impairment or running red lights. In terms of reducing crashes and injuries, drivers tended to focus on actions they could take such as driving defensively or using seat belts. There was less recognition of the role of vehicles and vehicle features in crash or injury prevention. Impact on research, practice, and policy: Knowing how drivers view themselves and others, their concerns, and their motivations and techniques for staying out of trouble on the roads provides insight into the difficulty of changing driving practices.
Race, Hispanic origin, and socioeconomic status in relation to motor vehicle occupant death rates and risk factors among adults
Braver, Elisa R.
Accident Analysis and Prevention
Black and Hispanic adults travel less in motor vehicles than whites but may be at greater risk when they do travel. Passenger vehicle occupant deaths per 10 million trips among persons ages 25-64 were computed by race, Hispanic origin, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES) using 1995 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey. Educational level was used as the indicator of SES. Blacks, particularly black men, were at increased risk of dying relative to whites when traveling in motor vehicles (rate ratio (RR) for black men=1.48; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.42-1.54). Hispanic men, but not Hispanic women, also had elevated occupant death rates, but their risk was less than that of black men (RR=1.26; 95% CI=1.20-1.31). SES was the strongest determinant of occupant deaths per unit of travel; RRs among those who had not completed high school were 3.52 (95% CI=3.39-3.65) for men and 2.79 (95% CI=2.69-2.91) for women, respectively. Whites without high school degrees had the highest death rates per 10 million trips. After adjustment for SES, the elevated risk of occupant fatalities persisted among black men and women, but not among Hispanic men. Seat belt use and alcohol-impaired driving were examined among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers. Among those with no education beyond high school, higher percentages were reported as having high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) or having not used belts. Reported belt use rates were lower among black men and women, even after controlling for SES, whereas Hispanic men and women had belt use rates similar to those of whites. High BACs were more common among Hispanic men, which appeared largely to be an effect of SES because most Hispanic men killed in crashes had not completed high school, the education level with the highest percentage that drove while impaired by alcohol. More effective public health efforts are needed to reduce occupant deaths among persons of lower SES, blacks, and Hispanics, including measures to increase use of seat belts and reduce alcohol-impaired driving.
Factors that drivers say motivate safe driving practices
Williams, Allan F.; Paek, Nancy N.; Lund, Adrian K.
Journal of Safety Research
This national survey was designed to identify factors that motivate safe driving behaviors and to determine how people rate the safety of their driving. It was found that drivers tended to rate themselves above average in terms of being safe drivers. Negative consequences such as the potential for a car crash and increase in car insurance were cited as important factors in increasing concern for safe driving. It was concluded that increased enforcement and awareness of negative outcomes may be effective in promoting safe driving practices.
Mandatory belt use and driver risk taking
Lund, Adrian K.; Zador, Paul L.
A study of driver behavior before and after a mandatory seat belt use law in Newfoundland found that the benefits of such legislation are not reduced by riskier driving, as has been suggested by some theorists. On average, belt use in Newfoundland increased from 16% of drivers before the law to 77% after the law. At the same time, the quality of driving changed very little when compared to control groups of Nova Scotia drivers, who were not subject to the law and whose belt use rates did not change. In only one situation did Newfoundland drivers differ from the control group in Nova Scotia. After the belt law, drivers in Newfoundland became relatively more cautious (slower) in their speeds on four-lane expressways. These data confirm the results of earlier less controlled studies that also found no changes in driving behavior following nonvoluntary changes in occupant protection. Since the “risk-compensation” hypothesis predicts such changes, it seems to have no merit in explaining changes in fatalities and injuries after occupant protection legislation.
The fatal crash reduction program: a reevaluation
Williams, Allan F.; Robertson, Leon S.
Accident Analysis and Prevention
The “Fatal Crash Reduction Program” was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of increased police patrolling and traffic law enforcement in reducing highway fatalities. Claims were made that the Fatal Crash Reduction Program in Michigan resulted in 42 fewer fatal crashes and 59 fewer fatalities than expected, and a nationwide, 10 million dollar intensified enforcement program—the “Fatal Accident Reduction Enforcement Program” (FARE) — was subsequently launched. However, a reevaluation of the Michigan Fatal Crash Reduction Program presented in this report indicates that it was not effective in reducing highway fatalities, and that the original evaluation was designed and analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in such a way that incorrect results were obtained.