Awareness programs don't make roads safer, expert says
By Richard Warnica, The Edmonton JournalMarch 18, 2009 9:02 AMBe the first to post a comment
Public awareness campaigns and drivers' education may make people feel better, but they have little practical value when it comes to actually making roads safer, an American expert on behaviour and injuries said Tuesday.
"We tried for decades to get people to wear seatbelts just by doing scary public service announcements," said Deborah Girasek, the director of social and behavioural sciences at the Uniformed Services University in Maryland. "It didn't work."
Without a legal incentive, drivers just wouldn't buckle up.
Girasek was speaking at the International Conference on Traffic Safety in Edmonton. In an hour-long speech, the academic tried to explain the gulf between the impact traffic accidents have on society and the often anemic public reaction to them.
Perhaps surprisingly, she said, awareness is not the problem.