Two new traffic safety culture publications, drafted by Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) researchers for the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), have been featured in the last two national newsletters of the National Academies of Sciences Transportation Research Board (TRB).
Kari Finley, Jay Otto, Nic Ward and Jamie Arpin authored “Proactive Traffic Safety: Empowering Behaviors to Reach Our Shared Vision of Zero Deaths and Serious Injuries,” a primer that defines proactive traffic safety and offers strategies and examples of how agencies can integrate it into their own safety programs and initiatives. This resource includes specific tips and communication tools for working with stakeholders and conducting public education events.
Finley, Otto, and Ward also developed the “Traffic Safety Culture Primer,” which introduces the concept of traffic safety culture and how it influences road user behavior. It provides examples of how growing a positive traffic safety culture can be used to enhance safe behaviors around issues such as impaired driving and seat belt use within an organization or at the community level.
CHSC created both primers as part of the Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund program, for which MDT serves as the lead agency. The primers and additional resources are available on the Proactive Traffic Safety webpage and the Traffic Safety Culture Primer webpage of the MDT website.
Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) Director, Dr. Nic Ward, will be a keynote speaker at the EU Safety Conference in Luxembourg in October 2019. Dr. Ward’s presentation is titled, “Safety Culture: Creating a Sense of Responsibility for Safety in the Population at Large.” The Conference, organized by EuroSafe and the Luxembourg Institute of Health, will cover a wide range of topics related to injury prevention and safety promotion, such as road safety and safety at work. There will be opportunities for cross-cutting communications between sectors and disciplines to address issues such as: translating research into practice and policy, injury related socio-economic inequities, ageing societies, technological developments, social marketing, alcohol, fatigue, and distraction. More information about this international conference is available at the EU Safety 2019 website.
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will host a webinar featuring research by a team from the Center for Health and Safety Culture. MDT recently released the final report for “Understanding Law Enforcement Attitudes and Beliefs about Traffic Safety,” which aimed to understand how the culture within law enforcement agencies impacts engagement in traffic safety enforcement. CHSC researchers, including Jay Otto, Kari Finley, Kelly Green, and Nic Ward, led the research on behalf of the Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund program. The team conducted surveys and interviews with 19 law enforcement agencies in four states to collect data for the assessment.
The webinar, which will provide an overview of the research results, will be held on Monday, July 8. Learn more and sign-up at the registration website. The final research report and a project summary report are available on the MDT project webpage.
Thank you, Montana State University News, for your feature article on the new Traffic Safety Culture book. MSU News interviewed CHSC Director Nic Ward for “MSU Researcher Co-authors Book on New Approach to Traffic Safety,” which was featured on the MSU News website. “It’s a new way of looking at an old problem,” said Ward; “Traffic safety has traditionally looked at engineering, enforcement and education as a way to make drivers behave safely. Because most crashes are the result of driver behavior, it is imperative to understand how culture influences driver behavior.”
Traffic Safety Culture: Definition, Foundation, and Application includes major contributions by the staff of the Center for Health and Safety Culture. CHSC Director Nic Ward was one of the three book editors and co-authored several chapters. Center staff and affiliated Montana State University faculty who also co-authored book chapters include Jay Otto, Kari Finley, Kelly Green, Eric Austin, and William Schell. (Legal disclaimer: Editors receive a royalty payment from the publisher.)
In April, Emerald Publishing released a new reference book entitled Traffic Safety Culture: Definition, Foundation, and Application, which includes major contributions by the staff of the Center for Health and Safety Culture. CHSC Director Nic Ward was one of the three book editors and co-authored several chapters. Center staff and affiliated Montana State University faculty who also co-authored book chapters include Jay Otto, Kari Finley, Kelly Green, Eric Austin, and William Schell. (Legal disclaimer: Editors receive a royalty payment from the publisher.)
Citation: Ward, N., Watson, B., and Fleming-Vogl, K (Eds.). (2019). Traffic Safety Culture: Definition, Foundation, and Application. Bingley (UK): Emerald Publishing.
Cannabis use by U.S. adults has increased by 50% over the last decade, and over the same period, cannabis use by drivers has increased by an estimated 8 -12%. Cannabis impairs psychomotor functions that can impair driving ability, which in turn may increase crash risk. As a result, drug-impaired driving is a growing traffic concern. While traditional approaches have focused on enforcement and education, another approach is to build a positive traffic safety culture, which can be described as shared values and beliefs that influence safe driving decisions.
Through this project, the Center for Health and Safety Culture will conduct research to develop a better understanding of belief systems that predict intention to drive after using cannabis. The research will include surveys of cannabis users and non-cannabis users in the state of Washington. The findings will guide the development of culture-based interventions and strategies to sustainably reduce impaired driving.
Project Title and Webpage: Traffic Safety Culture and Impaired Driving
On Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (Mountain Time), the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) will host a free webinar on the Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund research program.
Growing “traffic safety culture” has been identified as a core strategy by the USDOT Safety Council, FHWA’s Joint Safety Strategic Plan, the National Towards Zero Deaths (TZD) Safety Initiative, and the Road to Zero Coalition. Growing a positive traffic safety culture can support traffic safety goals by reducing risky behaviors and increasing protective behaviors; it can also increase public acceptance of other effective traffic safety programs.
In 2014, MDT initiated a five-year transportation pooled fund program on traffic safety culture, partnering with the CHSC as the principal research entity. Through this program, state DOTs and other stakeholder organizations have conducted cooperative research on the role of traffic safety culture in achieving the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) vision. To build on initial research success, the members will continue another five-year cycle beginning October 1, 2019. This webinar will introduce the pooled fund program to state DOTs and other traffic safety stakeholders interested in more information or wishing to participate in the new funding cycle. Learn more about the Pooled Fund Program and register for the Traffic Safety Culture webinar.
A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries
The Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has released the results of a national study on traffic safety culture, led by P.I. Nic Ward of the Center for Health and Safety Culture and Cambridge Systematics. “A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries” provides guidance to state transportation agencies on how to transform the traffic safety culture of road users and stakeholders, with the long-term goal of sustaining improvements in traffic safety for all road users. Background information is available on the project webpage. The report is available at http://nap.edu/25286
Citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25286.
The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship
Kari Finley Ph.D., Jay Otto M.S., and Nic Ward Ph.D. with the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) at Montana State University have published an article in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies. The article titled “The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship” focuses on two traffic safety citizenship behaviors: asking a passenger to wear a seat belt and asking a driver to stop texting on a cell phone while driving and explores the role of social capital to facilitate engagement in these behaviors with strangers. Results indicate that social capital may influence engagement in traffic safety citizenship behaviors. This project was conducted in cooperation with the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), as part of a Traffic Safety Culture Pooled Fund. The article is available through Open Access and can be found at The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship or at https://cgscholar.com/bookstore/works/the-role-of-social-capital-in-traffic-safety-citizenship.
Citation- Finley, K., Otto, J. & Ward, N.J. (2018). The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Safety Citizenship. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies 13:2, 29-41. doi:10.18848/2327-0071/CGP/v13i02/29-41.
Transportation, law enforcement, and public health organizations are showing growing interest in incorporating the principles of traffic safety culture into their safety programs. As a result, there is new demand for training materials on these topics for engineers, planners, emergency responders, public health professionals, and other practitioners.
Through this project, the Center for Health and Safety Culture will create three safety culture trainings for safety staff. The training modules will cover the basics of safety culture, organizational safety culture and road user safety culture. CHSC will develop supporting materials, such as a facilitator guide, videos, interactive handouts, and assessment tools. These modules will be made available to the Local Technical Assistance Programs (LTAPs) in each state, expanding access to culture-based training throughout the country.
As the project progresses, more information will be available on the CHSC website and the WTI project page.
Many state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have adopted the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) vision as part of their work towards the elimination of fatal and serious injury crashes. These efforts are facilitated when a DOT has a strong, internal safety culture of its own.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) has initiated a research program to grow a strong safety culture among a cohort of DOTs by providing tools and guidance to assess and transform organizational safety culture to support safety programs and achieve the TZD vision. These resources will include:
- A standard measurement tool to assess the safety culture of each participating DOT;
- A set of relevant strategies and a process for transforming identified aspects of the safety culture of the DOT;
- A range of support services to help guide and support implementation; and
- An evaluation of the effectiveness of the implemented transformation process.
CHSC will work with each DOT to develop and implement individualized tools. This project will launch the effort with the North Dakota Department of Transportation, the first DOT to join the cohort study. CHSC will provide research services to NDDOT and administer the NDDOT Safety Culture Training which encourages new resources and novel strategies to work towards the elimination of fatal and serious injury crashes.
As the project progresses, more information will be available on the CHSC website and the WTI project page.