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9/26/2006 - Addressing the Driver's Role in Motor Vehicle Crashes: Past Failures, Future Successes

The vast majority of motor vehicle crashes are attributed to "driver error" rather than either vehicle defects or roadway conditions. Although this oversimplifies a complex issue, it does point to a need to improve the quality of efforts to address driver behaviors if we are to bring about significant declines in crashes. This talk will address reasons why so little progress has been made in dealing with behavioral aspects of traffic safety and present a strategy for how we can do better.

Engineering approaches to vehicle and roadway design routinely incorporate fundamental principles of physics. In contrast, most efforts to address driver behaviors are based on inadequate - or demonstrably incorrect - "common sense" notions of human behavior. This talk will present some examples of misguided efforts, as well as some successful ones, and will show that the critical difference is that the latter implement theoretical principles that have been developed and validated through years of research in the social and behavioral sciences. The substantial barriers to adopting a more scientifically grounded approach to policies and programs concerning driver behaviors will be discussed.

ITS

ITS

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