Traffic Safety Culture

Cover of Traffic Safety Culture

Definition, Foundation, and Application

Subject:

Synopsis

Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xvii
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Definition

Abstract

Building a culture of safety in transportation is not dissimilar from building a culture of safety in health. Public health is widely known for protecting the public from diseases through milk pasteurization and chlorination of drinking water, and from injuries by implementing environmental and occupational safeguards and fostering behavioral change. Lifestyle and environmental changes that have contributed to the reductions in smoking and heart disease can also help change driving, walking and cycling behaviors, and environments. Stimulating a culture of safety on the road means providing safe and accessible transportation for all. The vision for a culture of traffic safety is to change the public’s attitude about the unacceptable toll from traffic injuries and to implement a systems approach to traffic injury prevention as a means for improving public health and public safety. Framing the motor vehicle injury problem in this way provides an opportunity for partnerships between highway safety and public health to improve the culture of safety.

Abstract

Our commitment to the goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries requires consideration of innovative traffic safety thinking. There is growing recognition that this goal requires a change in our culture as it relates to traffic safety (traffic safety culture). And yet, there is no consensus about a definition for traffic safety culture, no explicit theory-based model to predict the effect of traffic safety culture, and no practical guidance for applying these models to develop effective culture-based strategies. This chapter seeks to address these omissions from both an academic and practitioner perspective.

This chapter proposes a standard definition of traffic safety culture based on a model that integrates relevant theories of willful and intentional behavior. Importantly, a set of 10 principles are identified that provide the context and foundation from which the definition and model are derived. An understanding of these principles provides the logic and purpose for developing strategies that can transform traffic safety culture:

  • (1)

    Traffic crashes are a significant public health concern.

  • (2)

    Most traffic crashes are caused by human behavior, not the roadway, vehicle, or environment (e.g., weather).

  • (3)

    Human behavior is influenced by beliefs.

  • (4)

    Beliefs develop based on experience (actual and vicarious) and socialization.

  • (5)

    Socialization is the process whereby an individual develops beliefs which align with the culture of a group with which the individual identifies (social identity).

  • (6)

    Individuals can form an identity with many different groups in their social environment, each with a different degree of bonding.

  • (7)

    A stronger bond results in greater conformity and motivation to abide with the group culture.

  • (8)

    The shared beliefs of a group that affect behaviors related to traffic safety are called traffic safety culture.

  • (9)

    The traffic safety culture of a group emerges from actions taken by stakeholders across the social ecology.

  • (10)

    Traffic safety culture strategies increase actions by stakeholders across the social ecology to improve traffic safety culture among various groups.

Traffic crashes are a significant public health concern.

Most traffic crashes are caused by human behavior, not the roadway, vehicle, or environment (e.g., weather).

Human behavior is influenced by beliefs.

Beliefs develop based on experience (actual and vicarious) and socialization.

Socialization is the process whereby an individual develops beliefs which align with the culture of a group with which the individual identifies (social identity).

Individuals can form an identity with many different groups in their social environment, each with a different degree of bonding.

A stronger bond results in greater conformity and motivation to abide with the group culture.

The shared beliefs of a group that affect behaviors related to traffic safety are called traffic safety culture.

The traffic safety culture of a group emerges from actions taken by stakeholders across the social ecology.

Traffic safety culture strategies increase actions by stakeholders across the social ecology to improve traffic safety culture among various groups.

For the academic, these principles can also serve as hypotheses that can be explored to expand our knowledge about traffic safety culture. For the practitioner, these principles represent the basic logic and impetus for transforming traffic safety culture. By effectively communicating these principles and their connecting logic, we can express the importance of traffic safety culture and the need for supporting resources with other stakeholders.

Abstract

The present chapter puts one perspective center stage and looks at the relationship between TSC and its manifestation in individuals. More specifically, we are concerned with the relationship between processes of attitude formation and attitude change. The concept of attitudes is one out of several psychological constructs which are known to have mediating influence on actual behavior. Thus, it is a possible starting point to positively influence behavior in road traffic toward higher levels of (commitment to) safety. Understanding how safety culture is internalized by individuals and how it shapes safe conduct shall be theoretically described and practically exemplified to show how this approach can become useful and relevant for practitioners in the field of road safety.

The argument is developed in three parts. In the first part, Herbert Kelman’s (1958) conceptual scheme of three stages of attitude change is presented in which the levels of compliance, identification, and internalization of values are distinguished. In the second part, it is argued that these different levels of value integration correspond with three different kinds of psychological theories which address the relationship between attitudes and deliberately conducted behavior (action). It is a well-known fact in the science of human action that there is no direct relationship between attitudes, decision making, and action. Using Kelman’s three levels of value internalization as a scheme of reference, the conditions under which persons act in line with their attitudes can be conceptualized more precisely. From a normative point of view, it is argued that persons who align their actions and attitudes with reference to socially appreciated values are said to be elaborated. They orient their conduct by an ethos of safety to which they feel committed and they are able to interact in mindful ways. We discuss some of the basic constructs at each level and underpin their importance with reference to behavioral change toward higher levels of safety with empirical findings that have been published. In a third part, we present our findings in a summarizing table and suggest a list of factors and themes which mainly correspond to one of the three stages of attitudinal change and value internalization. Finally, we outline some examples of how traffic safety interventions can be conceptualized at these different levels.

Abstract

Given the definition for traffic safety culture (proposed in the first chapter) as the shared beliefs of a group which affect behaviors related to traffic safety, this chapter provides practical guidance on ways to measure traffic safety culture, analyze collected data, and use the analysis to inform interventions. The proposed definition of “shared beliefs” used a behavioral model to inform specifically what beliefs may influence intentional behaviors involved with either reducing or improving traffic safety. This behavioral model provides a framework to guide measurement. Analyses include examining the prevalence of beliefs and behaviors, the relationships between beliefs and behaviors, and identifying “gaps” in beliefs that may be important to address in interventions. Finally, an example of a traffic safety culture program which includes a collecting of strategies working across the social ecology to improve traffic safety is introduced (in this case, seat belt use).

Foundation

Abstract

In this chapter we interpret traffic safety culture (TSC) in terms of data on beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors from the fourth wave of the SARTRE study to find out whether they can be interpreted in a perspective. The SARTRE study is a European-wide survey that started in 1991 and collects information on mobility, risk perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences on the road (Cauzard, 1998, 2004; Cestac & Delhomme, 2012). The chapter focuses on the group of car drivers.

A principal component factor analysis was conducted to explore the underlying structure of the data set. Results suggest an underlying structure of five components which explain more than 55% of the variance. These dimensions were labeled (1) acceptance of technology and enforcement, (2) risk attitudes, (3) experienced and self-exerted behavioral control, (4) personal concern, (5) perception of other road users’ safety performance.

The influence of these five factors on safety performance (fatality rates) was estimated by regression analysis. Results show that only the second factor (risk attitudes) has a significant effect on fatality rates. As a consequence, expressive and instrumental attitudes about risk-taking should be addressed in driver training as well as information campaigns in order to improve safety culture at the level of individual car drivers.

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Abstract

The chapter defines social capital and explains its relationship to the broader concept of traffic safety culture. It lays out the conceptual case for a causal connection between social capital and positive traffic safety outcomes and describes recent work that has examined that connection. Implications for the practitioner include current policy options based on existing research results and promising new directions that require further exploration.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to outline the rationale for and approach to enhancing community participation in traffic safety initiatives. It describes a process that practitioners can use to engage members of the public in the development of community-based solutions to traffic safety problems. The approach used draws on contemporary social theory, historical antecedents, and demonstrated best practices for effective engagement efforts.

The implications of the ideas developed in this chapter include the need for traffic safety and related agencies to develop and deploy new or expanded capacities as they implement community-level traffic safety initiatives. One such capacity is the development of greater interdisciplinary understanding of sociopolitical dynamics that support and/or inhibit the effectiveness of behavior change efforts. Another is the ability to employ practical participatory processes that engage community members so as to draw out the tacit but critical knowledge about barriers to and avenues for supporting behavior change strategies. These increase the likelihood of developing traffic safety strategies that are effective within the specific and unique culture of each community.

Abstract

Driving for work has been identified as potentially one of the riskiest activities performed by workers within the course of their working day. Jurisdictions around the world have passed legislation and adopted policy and procedures to improve the safety of workers. However, particularly within the work driving setting, complying with legislation and the minimum safety standards and procedures is not sufficient to improve work driving safety. This chapter outlines the manner in which safety citizenship behavior can offer further improvement to work-related driving safety by acting as a complementary paradigm to improve risk management and current models and applications of safety culture.

Research on concepts associated with risk management and theoretical frameworks associated with safety culture and safety citizenship behavior are reviewed, along with their practical application within the work driving safety setting. A model incorporating safety citizenship behavior as a complementary paradigm to safety culture is proposed. It is suggested that this model provides a theoretical framework to inform future research directions aimed at improving safety within the work driving setting.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the rationale for and structure of organizational networks in support of traffic safety programming. It outlines the operational considerations and approaches important to both understanding network-based partnerships and improving their functionality. The chapter draws on conceptual and empirical studies of organizational networks in order to enhance the effectiveness of networks and integrate network-based approaches with the cultural orientation already present in traffic safety research and practice.

This chapter proceeds from the premise that, increasingly, efforts to impact traffic safety behaviors will be interconnected with other concerns, and that traffic safety initiatives will require engagement with organizations focused on concerns other than traffic safety. The implication of the ideas examined in this chapter is that traffic safety agencies will need to focus not just on traffic-related behaviors, but also on the strategic and operational coordination with other organizations. Doing so has the potential to create synergies that would be unachievable if agencies operation in isolation.

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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to provide the reader with tools to help change their organizational culture. Specifically, this chapter investigates the importance of leadership in understanding and changing culture within organizations and explores different change management models to effectively change culture within organizations. This chapter summarizes tools from the Leadership and Change Management literature, including findings from the author’s studies, and best practices from a variety of industries.

Tools are provided so that readers can target leadership changes in preparation for cultural change. Leadership behaviors at the top of an organization are discussed using the full-range leadership model, with a specific focus on understanding, developing, and harnessing transformational leadership behaviors within an organization. Leadership at the top of an organization is complemented with a discussion of the importance of middle leadership throughout the organization including a model to understand and develop those behaviors. The chapter ends with seven different approaches to structuring and managing change that organizations can adopt to improve the probability of driving successful change in their organizations.

For organizations seeking to develop or improve their safety culture, these tools provide a roadmap for harnessing the needed leadership behaviors and organizational tools to effectively make change. By understanding and applying these tools, organizations can find success in their culture change initiatives faster and with fewer problems.

Application

Abstract

Road trauma remains a significant concern internationally. Traffic crashes rank within the top three leading causes of death for individuals aged between 15–44 years old, with nonfatal casualties occurring at around 30 times the rate of fatal incidents. Historically, road safety research has not captured factors relating to driving purpose. However, more recently, researchers have focused on the importance of driving for work. Over a third of traffic volume represents commuting or driving in the line of employment; improving workplace road safety practices represents a tangible way of reducing road trauma. This chapter considers the link between safety culture and best practice in workplace road safety. It is argued that best practice is not a term to define individual safety practices, but a system of practices that create a culture of safety. This research uses data collected on organizations workplace road safety practices within the Australian context. This data has been collected by the National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP); an initiative that constitutes a network of organizations and academics working together to develop a positive road safety culture. Twenty-four case studies are presented of organizations that have implemented workplace road safety programs to improve their safe driving culture. Qualitative analysis was conducted to systematically categorize the safety initiatives and their indicators of success. Almost all case studies expressed the importance of developing a safety-first culture in the workplace. Third-party regulation, internal policy and corporate social responsibility form the foundation of workplace safety. However, it was the culture and attitude towards the safety initiatives that achieved effectiveness in the long-term. The findings of this research support the argument that best practice is best achieved when integrated within a culture that values and prioritizes safety, rather than implemented in isolation to other elements in the workplace system.

Abstract

The Traffic Safety Culture (TSC) approach has been applied primarily in high-income countries (HICs), yet the great majority of the burden of road trauma falls on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where it constitutes a humanitarian crisis. The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety established road safety in LMICs as a priority issue and launched a plan to address it. Road safety has subsequently been incorporated into the international development agenda via the Sustainable Development Goals. Characteristics of road user behavior, governance, infrastructure, enforcement, and health services in LMICs have led to assertions that many lack a “safety culture” or, more specifically, a “traffic safety culture.” While this invites the suggestion that a TSC approach would have value in LMICs, the question raised in this chapter is whether a psychosocial approach like TSC, developed and applied in HICs, is transferable to LMICs. This is first explored by examining the critique of the assumption that commonly studied psychological processes are universal, noting examples that are relevant to road safety. Cross-cultural psychology studies show that some of the psychological processes commonly studied in HICs differ in important ways in LMICs, while broader comparative research based on anthropology and sociology demonstrates the important influence of religious and cultural factors, economic and infrastructure conditions, institutional capacity and governance. The sociological construct of governmentality provides insight into why public compliance with traffic safety law may be lower in LMICs, and why this situation is likely to take a protracted period of time to change. Given the broader context of road safety in LMICs, the Road Safety Space Model (RSSM) provides a useful framework for identifying the economic, institutional, social, and cultural factors that influence a particular road safety issue in a particular country. This has implications for methodological approaches to TSC in LMICs, as less structured, more ethnographic methods are arguably more appropriate. An analysis of a typical TSC model, drawing on research from LMICs, demonstrates that the model assumes a particular hierarchy of elements (values, behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, prototypical image, control beliefs), and relationships between them, which may not be true in LMICs. It is therefore more challenging to apply TSC in LMICs, particularly making the transition from identification of the TSC values and beliefs that lead to behavior to the development of an intervention to bring about changes in behavior. TSC is undoubtedly a promising approach in LMICs; however, its first steps should incorporate qualitative approaches and recognize the wide range of factors that are relevant to TSC; use of the RSSM would facilitate such a process. There is scope for further research to refine models of TSC, to determine the best mix of methods to use, and to explore the role of governmentality and its implications for TSC. In the interim, practitioners should strive to understand and take into account the broader social and cultural factors that influence behavior in the particular LMIC where they are working.

Abstract

Drawing upon the Traffic Safety Culture (TSC) perspective, this chapter outlines the reinforcing and transforming functions of advertising and illustrates such approaches by drawing upon examples from Australian road safety advertising campaigns. The argument put forth is that road safety advertising can be a robust tool; it can reinforce other countermeasures (enforcement) as well as transform community expectations and values and thus ultimately contribute to social as well as behavioral change.

Abstract

This chapter defines what road safety advertising campaigns are and the objectives that they typically seek to achieve. The argument put forward in this chapter is that when theoretically informed in their design and sensitive to the array of potential personal, social, and cultural influences which may be at play, road safety advertising can contribute to both reinforcing and transforming contemporary traffic safety culture. This chapter offers guidance to researchers and practitioners in the field regarding relevant theory which may be applied to inform message design and evaluation.

Epilogue

Pages 321-329
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Index

Pages 329-345
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Cover of Traffic Safety Culture
DOI
10.1108/9781787146174
Publication date
2019-04-12
Editors
ISBN
978-1-78714-617-4
eISBN
978-1-78714-617-4