Understanding Driving Culture: Safe System and the ACT: A report on a systematic literature review and research scoping project.
Working toward a ‘Safe System’ goal not only requires a commitment from government but also from the larger community to adopt a culture and pattern of behaviours that minimise the likelihood of traffic crashes. It has been assumed in some literature that if this is to be achieved, community attitudes towards road safety also need to support safe road use behaviours. However, to date, little research has directly explored the elements of road use culture and related policy considerations that may influence community adoption of such initiatives. The aim of this study was to firstly conduct a systematic review of relevant literature then conduct a preliminary scope of the views of key informants regarding the road culture of the ACT, and the factors perceived to affect it. This information will provide a foundation upon which to build a longer-term, more in-depth investigation of the relevant factors underpinning road culture that could yield information regarding the best ways to implement and achieve a ‘Safe System’-type approach. This aim was pursued through semi-structured interviews with 11 representatives from key road use entities in the ACT and a comprehensive literature review. Interviewees raised the possibility of a ‘culture of entitlement’ among a variety of subcultures of ACT road users. This paper will discuss the future approach to the exploration of this culture and subcultures. In particular, the planned research will examine how people’s attitudes towards their vehicle, the road, car ownership and driving are related to their road use behaviours and responses to road safety initiatives.