Generational Perspective on Teen and Older Drivers on Traffic Safety in Rural and Urban Communities


Michael Manser, Mick Rakauskas, Nic Ward, Pam Jones, Amy Mayer, Rossana Armson

September 2008

Report no. Mn/DOT 2008-36

The purpose of this project was to explore beliefs and attitudes about risky driving behavior and traffic safety interventions between urban and rural drivers as a function of age. This was accomplished by conducting focus groups and surveys in rural and urban areas with teens and seniors. Results indicated that traffic safety policy for teens should focus on distraction and sensory-motor functioning amongst seniors. In terms of traffic safety policy for rural areas, attention should be given to interventions promoting seatbelt compliance. Relative to traffic safety interventions, teens felt GDL helped them become better drivers but weren't convinced GDL had made them better/safer. Teen felt smart technology could have positive effects on safety, but an acceptable program based on this technology needs to balance factors such as cost, robustness, and limitations on driving. Seniors were receptive to mandatory testing but felt it must be flexible, objectively administered, and based on criteria other than age. Rural seniors were concerned about alternative mobility programs for those drivers that fail the proposed test. Relative to these alternative programs, seniors' acceptance was related to the perceived accessibility to a safe and affordable program that is sufficiently versatile to accommodate a range of transportation needs.

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