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Experienced driver behaviour change – A review of approaches used in United States, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, and some recommendations for action in Australia.

Waldock, J

Driver Risk & Behaviour

ACRS conference 2008

Road safety is often described as comprising three areas: the vehicle, the road environment, and the road user. In recent years the Australian emphasis has been on improving the road environment, and the safety of the vehicle. Improvements to the road user contribution to the toll are usually expressed either as enforcement programmes, or education programmes.

This paper reviews the road safety philosophies, and specific practices used to achieve mature driver behaviour change in four countries: the USA; Sweden; Denmark and the Netherlands.In order to make the next quantum leap in road safety improvements for our communities, road safety professionals must re-engage with the behavioural side of the road safety triangle. Local Government is best placed to implement such programmes through its powerful, and direct connections to communities.

The approaches to road safety varied greatly across the countries visited. An inspirational approach is considered to be the next level of improving road safety outcomes. This type of communication is not the engineering profession’s usual technique, and requires the development of links to other professions.

Notwithstanding this significant change in approach, a number of local scale programmes are proposed which can be tailored using social research techniques to suit individual communities’ concerns and needs.

Six recommendations are detailed to achieve these outcomes.