Tapp, A., Pressley, A., Baugh, M. and White, P.
Wheels, skills and thrills: A social marketing trial to reduce aggressive driving from young men in deprived areas.
Accident Analysis & Prevention, 58.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/23032
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2013.04.023
Young men from areas of social deprivation have proven very resistant to current road safety initiatives, with Road Traffic Collision (RTC) levels remaining alarmingly high. This document summarises the findings of a two year trial of the use of social marketing techniques to reduce aggressive driving amongst these young men. The trial was funded by the Department for Transport (through the Road Safety Partnership Grant), the West of England Road Safety Partnership and the University of the West of England, Bristol to a total of £100,000. Trial planning began in 2009, with the intervention running from October 2010 through to June 2011.
A review and research phase informed the design of the intervention. This was trialled through a small scale pilot with 18-25 year old young men living in the area of Lawrence Weston, a housing estate on the outskirts of Bristol. The intervention departed from traditional approaches (fear appeals, educational approaches, or punitive measures), instead seeking to use a multi-disciplinary approach led by social marketing principles. Such approaches seek to create intervention designs that reflect the motives and lifestyles of the audience in question.
The intervention consisted of the following. First, improvements in driving were sought from a bespoke designed course of driver coaching provided by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). Second, In Vehicle Data Recorders (IVDRs) were used for data gathering and to provide in-car feedback of aggressive driving manoeuvres. Third, an incentive to recruit and retain the cohort, in the form of monthly karting sessions was used as a team bonding device. Finally, co-creation and relationship marketing approaches were used throughout the trial, (enabled through the close engagement of a locally based youth worker and other team members) such that the trial was tailored towards the motivations of the cohort.
Behaviour changes were measured pre- during and post-trial through a combination of data. Pre, during and post-trial driver performance data was collected from the IVDRs. These used accelerometers and GPS to measure aggressive driving manoeuvres by identifying excessive lateral and longitudinal forces in the car’s movement. These driving ‘events’ were manoeuvres defined by the IAM as excessive braking or swerving, and these were used as a proxy for poor driving technique. Secondly, pre- and post-trial ‘drive-checks’ (assessments of driving) were undertaken by trained observers from the IAM. Lastly, self assessment surveys and interviews were conducted with trial participants. The survey instrument was developed by synthesising selected statements from the Driver Behaviour Questionnaire and Driver Attitude Questionnaire survey instruments. Qualitative data was gathered through a combination of one-to-one interviews, focus group, telephone interviews and informal in-car interviews.
Results across these different measures indicate, on average, a significant improvement in driving behaviour amongst participants who completed the trial. Of most significance were the drive-check results, which showed sharp improvements across the key measures of
concentration, observation, anticipation, and cornering. These observed results were backed up by IVDR data that, when accumulated, demonstrated a sharp fall in ‘driver-events’ per hour of drive-time through the life of the trial. Post-trial IVDR data (up to eight months post-trial data) remained at these lower levels, encouraging the belief that the improvements were permanent ‘new habits’ rather than temporary effects. Finally, pre- and post-survey responses showed improvement in some attitudinal and behavioural aspects of driving.
An unanticipated, but positive outcome was that several of the cohort signed up for the full IAM Skill for Life Advanced Driving Course after completing the project.
In conclusion, results from all measures cumulatively signify that the trial has been very successful in delivering marked improvements in driver skills, and safer driving habits. These early results give grounds for optimism that the approaches trialled here could offer a significant breakthrough in intervention design to address a hitherto intractable behavioural problem.
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