Gauging popular support for traffic safety in the United States

Deborah C. Girasek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Recent concerns have been raised about the United States' "Traffic Safety Culture." While the "safety culture" construct has been studied in occupational settings, it appears that no assessments of national traffic safety culture have been published in the scientific literature. Purpose: To assess whether current public attitudes and behaviors support traffic safety advancement in the United States. Methods: A mail survey containing items that had been endorsed by traffic safety experts was fielded to a nationally representative sample of U.S. households in 2009. Completed surveys were returned by 46% of recipients. Results: Mean ratings indicated that respondents support a majority of the items that were developed to reflect positive Traffic Safety Culture. They "neither agreed nor disagreed," however, with 43% of pro-safety statements. The item that was mostly highly rated by subjects suggested that "the whole key to road safety" lies in educating drivers. When items were grouped by topic, those which focused on the control of alcohol-impaired driving were most popular. Female respondents and older respondents demonstrated more support for traffic safety advancement. Conclusions: The U.S. public appears to be favorably disposed to traffic safety but their support is not uniform across topics or population subgroups. Their responses also suggest they may not know or like some of the evidence-based recommendations being promoted by traffic safety experts. Future research should explore the bases for public resistance to policies and practices that have been shown to save lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1112-1117
Number of pages6
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Public
  • Support
  • Survey
  • Traffic safety culture


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