Guidelines for Development of Evidenced-Based Countermeasures for Risky Driving

With GuDEC, we’ve created guidelines for risky driving countermeasures based in evidence, guided by behavior change theories, and leading to sustained behavioral change in drivers who regularly engage in risky or unsafe driving.

The Challenge 

Changing any behavior isn’t easy; whether it’s adjusting to a new morning commute, committing to a diet or losing that last 10 pounds. Driving behaviors are no different. Sticking to the speed limit or not looking at smartphones and other devices while driving are difficult behaviors to change.

Past efforts to reduce crashes and improve driving safety have been focused on the driver, vehicle, and roadway. GuDEC, on the other hand, focuses on the choices drivers make while behind the wheel. 

The Question 

What are the most effective ways to encourage safe driving, such as wearing a seatbelt or obeying the speed limit? Conversely, what are the most effective ways of discouraging poor and unsafe driving behaviors, such as tailgating or texting while driving?

What We Did 

To properly address a specific behavior, it’s important to understand and address the underlying causes through effective countermeasures.

Our study examined a set of risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, texting, eating and more, and identified driver characteristics such as personality and physical condition that can be associated with these behaviors. From this data, we developed guidelines around the appropriate countermeasures best suited to address risky driving behaviors.

The Result 

Research in this project is still ongoing, as are the findings. However, we do have the following key messages for organizations interested in developing countermeasures to risky driving behavior:

  • The countermeasures must address the underlying cause of risky driving behavior
  • The countermeasures must be tailored to the type of behavior and the type of driver
  • The countermeasures must be proven to produce long-term behavioral change

This is a project in collaboration with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and the University of Washington