Driver Attitude Towards Safety: a European Study of Driver Behaviour
KARLAFTIS M and GOLIAS I, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
One of the pdmary concerns of traffic engineering is the safe and effi- cient movement of people. Unfortunately, traffic safety, despite the tremen- dous attention it has received in both the scientific literature and practice, still poses some staggering
One of the pdmary concerns of traffic engineering is the safe and effi- cient movement of people. Unfortunately, traffic safety, despite the tremen- dous attention it has received in both the scientific literature and practice, still poses some staggering numbers. In the European Union, 1.25% of the population will die an average 40 years sooner than expected, and 33% will be hospitalized as a result of road accidents (SARTRE 1998). Approximately 45,000 people are killed annually and 1.6 million are injured in the 15 Euro- pean Union member States (SARTRE 1998).
Based on many read safety analyses, the riskier of read user behav- iors can be identified and then targeted by traffic safety campaigns. Target- ing risky behavior can help in reducing read injuries and fatalities. The chal- lenge is to convince read users that the target behavior is really necessary. For this to happen, the right groups of drivers have to be targeted with the appropriate message. That is, to ensure that read users can fully benefit from safety campaigns, it is necessary to adopt the message to the right audience, whose behavioral characteristics will be taken into account. The question then becomes, how are correct groups of drivers and the appropri- ate message identified?
Much work has been done toward identifying accident causal factors, socio-economic characteristics that affect driver behavior, and driver groups that share common behavior. Louren et al. (1999) summarize much of the work done relating accident involvement with various causal factors. McKnight and McKnight (1999) examine work done in the field of age-related driver ability. Quimby et al. (1999) examine factors influencing a driver's choice of speed and the related literature. Shin et al. (1999) discuss much of the literature regarding seat belt use. Finally, Schechtman et al. (1999) ex- amine the relationship between drinking habits, speeding, seat belt use and other safe driving behaviors. The findings of these studies offer many useful suggestions as to what factors contribute to accidents, and stress the need for effective safety (publicity) campaigns.
The present study addresses the question of driver behavior toward safety. Driving habits such as attitudes toward speeding, reckless driving, seat belt use, and drinking and driving using a large International (European) data base in a two-step process are examined. First, using factor analysis, the driver behaviors that are related are determined. Then, using tree based regression analysis, an attempt is made to uncover which causal factors (so- cio-economic characteristics) affect behavior. The ultimate goal of the paper is to determine relatively homogeneous driver groups which share attitudes toward safety, in an effort to design and implement more effective safety campaigns. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. The next Section examines what aspects of driver behavior are related. The third Section links driver behavior with regional, demographic and socio-economic characteristics. The fourth Section discusses the implications of the findings for safety campaigns and, finally, the fifth Section offers some concluding remarks.
Association for European Transport