The Center for Health Safety Culture engaged in a research project with the Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund to better understand the cultural factors associated with traffic safety citizenship. Road users have an important role in achieving the goal of zero deaths and serious injuries. In Sweden, the origin of the Vision Zero strategy, traffic safety leaders recognize that “road users are responsible for showing consideration for having a sense of judgment and responsibility in traffic, and for complying with traffic regulations,” and that growing these elements is a component of the zero deaths initiative (Belin, M.-Å., Tillgren, P., & Vedung, E. (2012). Vision Zero – a road safety policy innovation. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 19(2), 171–179).
Thus, engagement in traffic safety by road users is an important component of a comprehensive Toward Zero Death (TZD) strategy. Also called “safety citizenship,” focusing on growing prosocial, traffic safety related behaviors by everyone is a strategic shift from focusing on directly impacting the behavior of an often small group engaging in risky behaviors. The strategy is to foster more active engagement by the larger majority of safe road users to influence the behaviors of the smaller risk group – thus shifting from a compliant model of safety (“avoiding violating laws”) to a commitment model of safety (“I choose to be safe and want those around me to be safe”).
The Center developed, implemented, and analyzed surveys to better understand the cultural factors that influence traffic safety citizenship. Recommendations based on the analyses seek to inform strategies to grow traffic safety citizenship.
For more information, visit MDT Transportation Pooled Fund Traffic Safety Culture. Final reports can be found at http://www.mdt.mt.gov/research/projects/safety-citizenship.shtml.