National Safety Month Increases Awareness of High-Risk Driving and Injury Prevention

Published
06/17/2015

Every June, National Safety Month increases awareness of injury prevention. This year’s theme, “What I Live For,” includes important information about transportation safety. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), driving poses a greater risk to our safety than other concerns like plane crashes or lightning strikes.

 

In “Risk Perception: Theories, Strategies, and Next Steps” by the Campbell Institute at the NSC, the reasons for high-risk behavior are explored. To begin, the NSC defines risk as “a measure of the probability and severity of adverse effects.”  Insights are provided about the ways that we calculate the probability an incident occurring, along with potential consequences.

 

Perceptions of Risk

 

According to this report, the inability to perceive risk accurately may lead to higher risk tolerance levels and related behavior. In reverse, other theories suggest that high-risk behavior may lead to higher risk tolerance levels and lower risk perception. Research supports both options.

 

As a case in point, studies have explored drivers’ attitudes toward traffic and road safety, which impact behavior and beliefs about car accidents. The NSC notes that U.S. drivers are conditioned to think that auto crashes are not preventable. Many believe that vehicular accidents occur because of others’ sub-standard driving skills rather than preventable factors including cell phone use and road maintenance.

 

Prevention of Car Accidents

 

The NSC report also cites research about U.S. citizens’ stronger concerns about catastrophic events like hurricanes versus loss of life from auto accidents. As a result, many mistakenly believe that they can’t prevent car crashes, so they take more risks.

 

However, the report refers to several studies indicating that the enforcement of traffic safety laws reduces the incidence of high-risk behavior. Here are some of the findings:

 

  • Seat belt use increased from 11% in 1979 to 86% in 2012 primarily because of enforcement laws and increased fines.
  • High-visibility police enforcement resulted in a 45% average decrease in drivers using cell phones.
  • Strict enforcement also resulted in a 52% average decrease in texting while driving.

 

 

Impact of Peer or Community Pressure on Risk Perception and Tolerance

 

The NSC report also focuses on the influence of peer and community pressure. In particular, “Stress from peers both within and outside the workplace can cause people to take risks that go against their better judgment.” One alarming study revealed that young drivers habitually drive around railway crossing barriers, even though they think it dangerous.

 

Why did they act against their better judgment? They made this decision because others thought this practice was acceptable. This attitude also prompted the misperception of unsafe driving practices of friends, siblings and parents.

 

According to the NSC report, research indicates that car crashes—and worse—result when peers are riding with a teen driver. Study findings have resulted in the conclusion that “cars are important modes of teen socialization…. When adolescents drive with peers, they are constantly trying to maintain and negotiate peer relationships, which make them susceptible to high-risk actions, such as speeding to overtake a car at a peer’s request or turning up the volume of music.”

 

Peer pressure and the need for acceptance can cloud thinking and interfere with safe driving. As a result, young drivers can find themselves in a situation with reverberating consequences. Beyond dealing with any injuries from a car accident, they may find themselves in need of insurance for high risk drivers in Hollywood, FL.

 

More Information and Other Safety Tips

 

Do you know a teenager or someone else who had a car accident? Do you need more information about insurance for high risk drivers in Hollywood, FL? Let us know, and share other tips to help them stay safe on the road.

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