ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Assessment of personal crash risk among rural drivers: Perception versus reality

Sticher, Gayle, Sheehan, Mary (Peer reviewed)

Crashes - Analysis


The higher incidence of road crashes in rural areas is well-known to safety researchers and practitioners. High rates of rural road fatalities and serious injury crashes are inevitably followed by calls for interventions to lower these tolls. However, interventions that have reduced the road toll in urban areas have not achieved the same successes on rural roads. To develop effective countermeasures and interventions for rural road users, further efforts are required to understand rural drivers? beliefs about their driving risks and abilities. This study used focus groups to explore the views of 58 rural drivers, and compared this information with data obtained from 143 patients hospitalised after a rural road crash and 290 rural drivers interviewed as roadside controls. Focus groups participants inaccurately appraised the risk factors associated with rural road crashes, when compared with information obtained from the patients hospitalised after such crashes. The majority of rural road users in all three groups gave very positive appraisals of their own driving ability. The implications of these findings for rural road safety interventions are discussed.