What Motivates Drivers to Disobey Traffic Regulations and How Can we Change this Behaviour?

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A traditional approach taken in road safety research has been to view accidents as a failure to cope with the perceptual motor skills required for a safe journey. The task was therefore to increase driver's skills and to modify the environment. However, in recent years, it has been found that the problem does not always lie in what the driver can or cannot do but what he/she actually decides to do. The crucial issue is therefore to understand what motivates drivers to commit an act, which puts both themselves and others at risk. Different campaigns have been developed trying to change peoples’ behaviour although some of them have had little or no effect. One conclusion drawn from this could be that money could be better spent. However, in this presentation I will argue that the reason for this failure is that the programmes are poorly developed and use a language which does not address the psycho-social processes underlying the behaviour.

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