Safety Activism on the Information Highway, G8/Spring 1998, Psychology 409a
A Quest for Safer Roads

Table of Contents


          Impressions & Reactions 
Conclusions 
 
 

Analysis: U.S. Speedtraps

The person who posted this website containing the whereabouts of speedtraps in the United States, didn't do it to spite law enforcement agencies. The creator is advocating for drivers to slow down because many areas that contain speedtraps, are attractive for "gunning" the engine. The owner of the site realizes the danger you put yourself and others when you travel at high speeds. This page gets support by all the drivers in the U.S., hey, nobody wants a ticket! I am sure a few police officers support it too. It means no one is breaking the law, less paperwork and less court                appearances. This page is a very convincing reminder to slow down, because it is a very bad thing to get a speeding ticket in another state. I' m sure tourists in Hawai`i would appreciate knowing about the Viaduct and H-2 traps, as we would like to know where the speedtraps are in Portland! This type of alert can be very effective because it informs people ahead of time. They can scratch one thing that can ruin a vacation off the list. Of course it is up to the person if they choose to take the time and look it up. The approach is very detailed and user-friendly because maps, diagrams, enlargements, vehicle types and bandwiths are used to characterize a trap. It is one of the most complete analyses I have ever seen regarding locations of speedtraps. This type of safety is on the radical end of the spectrum. Its drawback is that it teaches a driver that they can speed, but only in certain areas. It offers no education, but how to get away with breaking the law.
 

Analysis: Scope of the Problem

This article advocates the call for drivers to reduce their need for speed and alcohol. They preach to slow down and reduce the number of crashes and deaths by using seat belts, helmets, tougher DUI laws and air bags. Support comes from a coalition of consumers, insurance groups, health and safety groups, or the "Advocates of Highway Safety." They have convinced me that adoption of tougher state and federal government laws can reduce injuries and deaths in automobile crashes. Refering to the increasing incidents and causes of road rage, I have learned that a reduction in speed decreases the chance of upsetting another driver who may choose to engage in a road war with you. This sets the stage for a serious and deadly crash, maybe involving innocent drivers. This advocacy is very important for future laws regarding vehicular and negligent homicide due to excessive speed. This group can be effective if they can advertise or promote their safety site. Also, getting the majority of people to actually read and adhere to their philosophy is a giant task to accomplish. This group uses the influence of an alliance to get their views across. With many different types of members representing many aspects of driving, it is no wonder that they have a hefty lobbying force. They fit in with the mainstream advocates on highway safety issues because they stress education and consequences.
 

Analysis: Speed Tracking
This article was written by the same coalition as the above article. What they advocate in this link, is the discouragement of the use of radar/laser detectors in vehicles. They claim that the one sole use is to protect a speeder from facing the law. Their support is vast because it includes the majority of insurance companies and police departments. I am convinced because I know many people with laser detectors who go tearing around the roads. They drive like beginners when the warning sounds. This aspect is not as important as issues such as diffusing a volatile situation, but it is thinking in the right direction. Perhaps after the more serious issues are resolved, it would be a nice addition to ban these detectors. I also can't say if banning radar/laser detectors would significantly increase the number of speeding tickets given because I know many speeders who don't use these gadgets. The article approaches the proposal to ban detectors by giving crash statistics involving excessive speed. Also, it mentions a restriction on the type of advertising automakers use. Slogans and labels such as "high performance" contribute to speeder mentality. I disagree with this because it borders on constitutional rights. This view is too restricting to fit in with the moderate, mainstream view on how to stop speeding. I feel an individual has every right to own a detector, but be willing to accept a consequence of their driving, such as killing someone.

Analysis: Safe Driving
This article promotes the fact that time leads to rushing which leads to speeding. Crashes, tickets, and tragedy can all happen from here. The solution is to leave earlier, analyze your own driving, leave "cushions" between you and the car in front of you, and stay alert. Support comes from a group called "Reasonable Drivers Unanimous" who advocate the above. I find some of these tips such as leaving early to be helpful, but leaving cushions is another story. If your like me, you get irritated when the driver in front of you leaves a big gap for others to cut in because it slows down your lane. I also notice that it angers other people on the road too. As of leaving early, I think it decreases your chance of being involved in a road war because you don't have to cut in and out of traffic and maybe anger someone. That person may choose to confront you and then the sparks fly. It is important that people consider allowing more than enough time to get somewhere so that they don't inconvience another person. Effectiveness depends on the education of a driver to not be drawn in to a road battle. Also, the willingness of a person to carryout these tips. The approach to this issue is good, but does not take in to account that for many people their schedules are not flexible and they have only certain times to leave. I like the idea, yet I don't feel it is valid for everyone.

Analysis: Speed Kills?
The magazine Car and Driver wrote this article which seems to be a response to the negative portrayal of speed. They advocate that speed does not necessarily cause crashes in incidents involving high speed. They point out that a car going 55 in a 50mph zone is technically speeding. If this car gets broadsided by a driver who runs a stop sign, it is technically a speed related crash. Support for this claim comes in the form of statistics on motorists' death rates on the Autobahn and U.S. freeways. The average is the same for both, and Car and Driver claims victory from this. I am not convinced because I feel the research is unreliable. The study was done by Mercedes Benz, a German high performance car manufacturer. Second, the Autobahn has nowhere near the amount of traffic the U.S. freeways handle, and we can infer that with many more cars, there will be many more crashes resulting in more deaths! This study is not important to read because of the message being pushed across. The statistics are twisted and the comparison is meaningless. It certainly will not be effective, especially if reports of speed-related crashes keep appearing. This article represents the profit-making side of vehicles. If more people adhere to stricter traffic laws, they demand for performance cars will drop. This market brings in much money for the automaker, which allows them to continue business.

Analysis: Know the Limit
The article here is advocating the real facts of alcohol on judgement. The fact is, many people don't realize the small amount of alcohol it takes to impair judgement. This claim is supported by Mary Nicholson and colleagues, professor of health education and biobehavior health. A reference to MADD was also made in support of the article. I find this article convincing because I have friends who think they can "pound" many beers and still function normally. I see them losing their feet and bumping in to walls, hardly functioning at all! Importance lies for the drinker, their friends, and other drivers because they all can be affected by the drinker's decisions. This information can be effective if people could accept the fact that their not all "macho drinker" and stuff. I think that this article fits in to DUI education and treatment. It declares that although laws are in full swing, DUI is still a major problem we have to deal with.

Analysis: Q & A
This question and answer article attends to teenage questions about the effects of drinking on their actions. It examines the dangers of underage drinking, ideas to control it, and role in teen driver crashes. It gets support from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Also, many insurance firms endorse the web site. I believe there are links at the site to some of those insurance companies. I feel that this site is convincing because it looks at the right issues; causes and how to stop it. It is an important site for beginning drivers to read because as a teen, peer pressure can be very powerful. I feel that this site can help prepare a teen for the pressure to drink and speed. Effectiveness depends on the willingness of people to take time and read the advice posted. Perhaps exposure by promotion will register more hits on the page. This advice fits in to the mainstream of educating today's young drivers to be better drivers tomorrow.

Analysis: A Hardline Approach
This kind of radical article demands punishment in all U.S. states for violation of liqour laws in a car. Among the notable not already in place; lowering the legal BAC to .05, responsible advertising for all drinks containing alcohol. This is supported by the same coalition of insurance firms, consumers, safety groups and health groups. I am convinced because late at night I see drunk drivers weaving in their lane and sometimes almost whacking the guardrail. I agree with sentences such as suspension or revocation of licenses and mandatory prison time. This issue is important for the average, law-abidding citizen who has a right to be able to drive without the danger of a drunk driver in the area. The effectiveness of this article is only as good as the laws which are passed. I feel that if this organization were to gain more lobbying power, more of these favorable laws can be passed. With the use of statistics on DUI-related crashes and deaths, a hardline, zero-tolerance approach, the Advocates for Highway Safety present a formidable proponent. This council leads the ideal solution to DUI. They represent a solid stone pillar in the fight against drunk driving.


Analysis: Definite Lifesaver
    The advocation here is about retaining the 21 year-old legal drinking age. The claim is that it saves lives and cuts down costs for the government. It is supported by an overwhelming 91.79% of Americans. I feel convinced that the drinking age is appropriate because I don't feel many 18-20 year-olds or even some 21 year-olds are responsible enough to drink. It is imperative that the federal government retain this law because of the increase in DUI crashes expected if states are allowed to set the legal drinking age. The law is effective now and I think it should be kept that way. Who knows, a drop in the drinking age may lead to a loved one losing their life to some drunk 18 year-old kid! The approach here is plain facts. Statistics of DUI crashes before and after the age 21 law was enacted, clearly show that the number decreased after the law was passed. This article is critical to maintain the age 21 law because every year there is talk of lowering it. Think of it as a sobering reminder.


Analysis: Necessary?
    This issue comes directly from the MADD web site. It advocates the opposition of DUI for any age group. They give effective solutions to DUI and underage drinking, and support to family members of victims involved in a DUI-related incident. They are supported by 600 chapters nation-wide, as well as the government, schools, and businesses. Their plight is very convincing because they view DUI as a choice, not an accident. I agree that DUI offenders should be hammered because they made the choice to get behind the wheel and potentially kill someone. It is very important that all people understand what the implications can be if they choose to drive intoxicated. This agency is one of the most effective and successful attempts to curb the DUI terror. It ranks in the likes of anti-smoking campaigns because it serves as a bridge between adults and teens who are very susceptible to the glamour of drinking.


Analysis: Epic Road Rage
    Road rage incidents have been on the rise. Information related to the analysis of road rage are sparse, given the amount of information on drugs. This site advocates ways to diffuse and cool-off a situation with the potential for violence. Support has been in the form of media attention and some political issues, but nothing as dedicated as a number of psychologists, particularly Dr. Leon James. The techniques in this article and at Dr. James' page are very convincing ways of controlling your road rage. I have found that after applying the methods, I now experience less aggression towards other drivers. I feel that this topic should be addressed more because these incidents are on the rise. I think all drivers should really step back and review their driving just as a safeguard to not wind up in a tragedy like the two women in the article. As for effectiveness, I think the techniques work wonderful, but I also feel that you have to be willing to change as a driver. You need to be ready to take criticism and not get worked up over it. This article used a sad approach to get its point across because it sort of shocks the reader back in to reality. It shouts that this could be you, you have a choice now so get a grip on your driving habits! I view this article as one of the pioneering methods in to treating and extinguishing road rage. It establishes its own area of psychology.


Analysis: No Effect
    This article about aggressive driving preaches for drivers to not retaliate against "aggressors." The attitude, "So what, let him go," is the reaction that is stressed here. Support comes from traffic psychologists, and most likely the average level-headed driver. The significance of this technique is unquestionable. Failure to account or practice this philosophy of driving can result in damage to your car, bodily injury and even death. This is something that should be taken seriously because it is a growing problem. Being passive is effective, shown by studies and endorsed by professors of traffic psychology. I've noticed that it works most of the time for me. At the most, I get a glance from a driver I may have inconvenienced. This technique utilizes a pacifying approach to aggressors on the road. It is a non-threatening, non-verbal, and non-gesture approach which greatly decreases the chance of further hostility. This technique is an excellent fit in to the road safety courses offered around the country.


Analysis: Educate Communities
    Advocates of this article stress that drivers know how road battles start. Also, how to avoid being sucked in to a war, and if involved, how to remedy the situation peacefully. It is supported by traffic psychologists around the country, such as Dr. James. I find this issue convincing because things like road rage can be blown out of proportion by community leaders. An example of this is the AIDS epidemic and how the civil rights of many stricken with the disease were violated. It is important that community leaders get the right facts, and who else to teach them, but an expert in the field. Effectiveness depends on how hard the community stresses the importance of controlling road rage. Also, if the community decides to accept or deny the techniques. I feel that it is important to integrate awareness early, perhaps in driver education, or a mandatory class for new drivers. The approach to this issue involves statistics concerning the likelihood of being involved in a serious crash, and chance of being physically harmed by a road rager. It is a soundly presented article that is hitting at the right spots to rid our roads of rage.


Analysis: Rehab Yourself
    This article concerning traffic safety, advocates the awareness of irrational thoughts while driving. It also promotes ways to rehabilitate your driving skills, perhaps something that can be integrated with education programs for drivers of all ages. Support stems from Dr. James and the Oahu Traffic Safety Council(OTSC). I found the article convincing but a weak area is if people will actually spend time to look the site up and read it. If they read it, will they model it? What about more incentive to practice rehabilitated driving? Perhaps the article can mention that it saves the engine life, and body work of your car, which in turns saves you money. This aspect of aggressive driving is important, but I've found that some other articles were more thorough and detailed for a wide range of scenarios. I think that this technique would be more effective if it were paired with something like anger management. The approach is a peaceful method, no rushing because it has effects on a person's health. It fits in with the main ideas of dealing with road rage, but doesn't hold the clout that others do.


Analysis: Healthy Driving
    Dr. James advocates the maintaining or restoring of a healthy life in the face of traffic jams. This article lists some of the ways Dr. James treats road ragers, namely his Three Steps to a Zesty, Healthy Driving Experience. I am entirely convinced because I've used these rules and noticed a change in my driving behavior for the better. I agree that a very central part of improving your driving repertoire is to acknowledge that a problem exists. I think this issue is very important because it is hard to self-critique. I'm sure many drivers will find that they have aspects of their driving to change! This technique is very effective, at least for myself because I feel it has produced a significant change. I adopt more of the, "fine, go ahead, I don't care," attitude now. This topic uses a type of behavioral assessment technique along with gradual change. To change in steps makes it a lot easier because you don't experience the stress of something new. This technique is iron-clad, and perhaps will be the basis for further techniques in the future.


Analysis: Seat Belts
    The benchmark of traffic safety are the seat belt advocates. Nothing has proven anywhere as effective as wearing a seat belt in a crash. These advocates stress that every state has the "primary enforcement" law regarding seat belt usage. What this means is that an officer may cite anyone they see not buckled in when sitting in the front seats. They also want the continuing requirement that all seated in the front seat must wear a seat belt. This is supported by thousands of government agencies, lobby groups and a whopping 88% of Americans. I am very convinced of seat belt importance, had I not been wearing one, I would have been plastered on to a concrete pillar under the Viaduct. Also, my mother is a highway safety specialist so I grew up knowing all about the advantages of seat belts. This seat belt usage is very important to save lives in traffic collisions. The U.S. achieved a 68% usage rate with a requirement, compared to a rate of 15% without the law. The approach is just plain, cold facts and consequences for those who choose not buckle up. This issue is a mainstay of traffic safety now successfully integrated in ot America's traffic-oriented society.


Analysis: Air Bags
    The advocates of air bags stress standardization in all cars in America. They are supported by advocates of the Highway and Safety Campaign. This group is a member of the Air Bag Safety Corporation which includes insurance firms, auto makers, child seat manufacturers, restraint makers, physicians, and government agencies. I see the air bag cause as convincing because in my crash, an air bag would have prevented a fractured collar bone. All this fuss about air bags being to strong is crap. It has to be able to deploy once the sensor feels a certain amount of pressure on the front bumper. Now in a real speed crash at 40mph, would you rather have facial burns and nicks, or teeth stuck in the steering wheel and coupled with trauma? It is important that people realize you are better off in a crash with an air bag than without. Air bags are definitely effective, proven by studies and first-hand accounts of actual crash victims. Statistics show that air bags have saved over 1600 lives since December 1996. This fits in to traffic safety by paving the way for more safety features such as the side-impact air bag which can result in more lives saved and a higher survival rate of crash victims.


Analysis: Safety Features
    This catalog is posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) and they advocate the element of safety reliability in automobiles. They offer crash test results on the occupants of a vehicle for many different makes and models. Support comes from the government and its traffic-affiliated organizations. A very convincing service because it is very highly detailed. It gives measurements on distance, damage inflicted, and so forth. Importance lies in the protection of the consumer. Families want their vehicles to be crash-worthy and protective. It is a very vital step in buying a car, because a cars value can be measured in certain aspects, how it performs in an accident. This type of safety alert caters to the average civilian and car buyer, a very needed service.


Analysis: Safety Seat Review
    Child safety seat advocates stress the best brands, proper use, and a list of the right things to do when little children are in the car. Again, since this is a report done by NHTSA, the support comes from government studies and organizations. I found this article to be convincing because much of the information was similar to what my mother has been telling me all my life. This information is very important for parents with little children or babies because negligence can result in ultimate tragedy. These proper ways to manage a car containing little children are effective to the extent of a crash. In the worst case, nothing can prevent deaths in auto accidents, but by following the posted information, parents can greatly increase the chances of survival. The approach used is a combination of statistics, surveys, quality analysis and proper installation for seats. The contribution to traffic safety ranks up with seat belt usage.


Analysis: Recalls
    The advocation in this catalog represents vehicles recalled due to dangerous risks involving people. They range from fire hazards to roll-over potential and it seems that every car has its thing. The NHTSA recommends that when looking for a car, be aware of any recalls because you don't want to buy a "death trap." Importance is for the protection from injury or death caused by the faulty part on a car. Very convincing, of course, why lie? The approach includes accounts taken from testing and observations. Also, a great number of vehicles being fixed for the same reason. It is a well-thought, conscientious avenue to explore.


Impressions & Reactions
    I viewed Mr. Nakagawa's report number two and I found it to be excellent. I noticed that the content of his explanations were thorough and detailed. I liked his gathering of many links because they provided more data and information. His approach to the assignment seems to be well planned out in advance. He seems to concentrate on drunk driving, so perhaps he has had an experience with one. As for the presentation, I found it to be easy to read, no eye strain and well laid out, though a little cluttered. Nevertheless, I feel that it is an excellent report.


Conclusion
    As for any of the future generations, I think you can improve on my report because by then, there will be a lot more information regarding road rage and how to deal with it. I feel that the future holds more incidents and deadlier results of road rage. This will force more attention to the issue and perhaps be a large part of the course. As I finish up my last report, I think back to how clueless I was about posting web pages. Back in January, I didn't know a thing! We started with Unix, creating folders and files, then got to the hard stuff. The first web page I did, boy did I struggle. I asked a friend from MIS to help and he sure did. Now I know what I' m doing and I plan to keep up with computer technology, perhaps take ICS or so. I guess for my fellow G8 students, I think many of them will continue using Unix and the Internet, but not to the degree of now. I want to continue in this type of thing, perhaps even graduate with a degree in ICS or MIS. I feel that 5 years from now, the web will be a necessity to know. I think G8 will have skills necessary to compete for jobs, teach others and live an easier life in a interconnected globe.
 
 
 
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