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Exploring the relationship between car brands and risky driving

Alan Tapp (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
George Marian Ursachi (Agile Transport Analysis, Bucharest, Romania)
Dan Campsall (Agilysis, Banbury, UK)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 21 July 2023

Issue publication date: 10 November 2023




Critical social marketing can play a vital role in countering the consequences of behaviours toxified by commercial marketing. This paper aims to hypothesise that auto sector brand activities may be associated with riskier driving.


In this paper, the authors hypothesised that auto sector brand activities may be associated with riskier driving. UK collision data was examined, focusing on collisions that occurred because of an “injudicious action” (risky or aggressive driving manoeuvres) and analysing this data set by comparing the incidence of vehicle brands involved.


After allowing for other effects, a gradient graph illustrated differing associations between vehicle brands and collision rates.

Practical implications

A discussion was offered, adopting the position that if such a problem exists the solutions cannot be left to the sector itself, and that socially responsible interventions may be required. A number of social marketing strategies are proposed including regulatory support, “Truth Campaign” style exposure of commercial damage, and counter-marketing that promotes safe driver behaviour.


This work provides valuable empirical support to the concerns raised by previous workers about the possible effects of automotive sector advertising on driving behaviour. The paper offers a concise discussion of ways forward, concluding with the novel possibility of regulating individual brands as an alternative to sector-wide regulation.



The authors would like to acknowledge the help of Gerard Hastings who in separate work developed the concept of individual brand regulation with the lead author.


Tapp, A., Ursachi, G.M. and Campsall, D. (2023), "Exploring the relationship between car brands and risky driving", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 554-571.



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