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Behaviors and Attitudes

Resources

NHTSA studies behaviors and attitudes in highway safety, focusing on drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. We identify and measure behaviors involved in crashes or associated with injuries, and develop and refine countermeasures to deter unsafe behaviors and promote safe alternatives.

Our recently published reports are listed chronologically below. To the right are additional resources including Behavioral Research Notes and Traffic Techs.



138 Results
Title
 

Update to Special Reports on Traffic Safety During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Fourth Quarter Data, Research Note, Traffic Safety Facts

NHTSA is reviewing nationwide changes in traffic safety and observed behaviors caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This research note includes data through the end of the 2020 calendar year, updating earlier preliminary reports. The research note includes changes in travel patterns, rates of crash severity, and the prevalence of drugs and alcohol among seriously and fatally injured road users at select trauma centers.

Exploring the Predictive Validity of Drug Evaluation and Classification Program Evaluations, Traffic Tech

This Traffic Tech Technology Transfer Series report briefly summarizes a larger report, Exploring the Predictive Validity of Drug Evaluation and Classification Programs, Report No. DOT 812 959, that studied which combinations of drug-related signs and symptoms from the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) protocol most efficiently and effectively predicted the drug category or combination used by the subjects. A sample of 2,261 DEC evaluations conducted on suspected drug-impaired drivers in 11 States included cases that involved specific drug categories and two-drug combinations commonly encountered by drug recognition experts. Thirteen drug-related indicators were found to significantly contribute to the prediction of drug category; 12 indicators contributed significantly to the prediction of drug combinations.

Exploring the Predictive Validity of Drug Evaluation and Classification Program Evaluations

This report seeks to determine which combinations of drug-related signs and symptoms from the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) protocol most efficiently and effectively predict the drug category or combination used by the subject. A sample of 2,261 DEC evaluations conducted on suspected drug-impaired drivers included cases involving specific drug categories and two-drug combinations commonly encountered by DREs. This study also examined how effectively the set of drug-related measures from the DEC procedure could distinguish drug-positive from drug-negative cases for two common drug categories (cannabis and CNS depressants) and the relative importance of clinical, behavioral and observational measures in predicting drug categories responsible for impairment. Thirteen drug-related indicators were found to significantly contribute to the prediction of drug category; 12 indicators contributed significantly to the prediction of drug combinations.

High-Visibility Enforcement: Assessing Change and Identifying Opportunities - Traffic Tech

This Traffic Tech report briefly summarizes a larger NHTSA report, High-Visibility Enforcement: Assessing Change and Identifying Opportunities (DOT HS 813 066), in which the research team interviewed nine SHSO officials to determine whether they believed there had been any changes in participation in or support for HVE over the past 10 years. The research team also conducted six interviews with SHSO and LEA officials to document eight innovative strategies being used to increase officers’ participation in HVE.

High-Visibility Enforcement: Assessing Change and Identifying Opportunities

In this study the research team interviewed nine officials from State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) to determine if they perceived a change in participation in or support for high-visibility enforcement (HVE) over the past decade. The research team also interviewed six SHSO or local law enforcement agency (LEA) officials to profile innovative strategies that States or LEAs are using to increase law enforcement participation in HVE. Most of the nine SHSO officials believed there has been a decrease in law enforcement participation in and support for grant-funded HVE activities over the last 10 years, and the SHSO officials identified several common challenges to participation in HVE. However, interviews with SHSO and LEA officials regarding innovative strategies being used to increase participation in HVE revealed possible solutions for these challenges.

Physical Fitness Training and Older Driver Performance and Exposure - Traffic Tech

This Traffic Tech briefly summarizes two larger NHTSA reports about studies to explore the relationship between older adult physical fitness, as measured by functional abilities and activity levels, and their driving performance and the amount and circumstances under which people choose to drive (exposure). The researchers assessed physical and cognitive status before and after training, and a certified driver rehabilitation specialist evaluated behind-the-wheel performance using a recognized road test. Treatment effectiveness was gauged in terms of “change scores” for road test performance and for multiple indices of driving exposure. Correlations between measures of physical/functional status and driving performance were weak or very weak.

Physical Fitness Training and Older Driver Performance and Exposure

This research hypothesized that participation in a structured exercise program by inactive adults 70 or older would result in improved road test performance and increased driving exposure (the amount and circumstances under which people choose to drive). Participants were randomly assigned to an exercise group (n=20) that involved activities including weight-bearing, resistance, or dance/movement elements, or a control group (n=10). The researchers assessed physical and cognitive status before and after training, and a certified driver rehabilitation specialist evaluated behind-the-wheel performance using a recognized road test. Treatment effectiveness was gauged in terms of “change scores” for road test performance and for multiple indices of driving exposure. Correlations between measures of physical/functional status and driving performance were weak or very weak.

Pilot Test of a Methodology for an Observation Survey of Motorcycle Personal Protective Equipment - Traffic Tech

This Traffic Tech briefly summarizes a larger project report  that addressed the research and safety program need for information on the use of motorcycle personal protective equipment (PPE), including the use of safety-certified helmets, sturdy jackets and pants, over-the-ankle boots, and riding gloves. Although motorcycle safety advocates and safety programs encourage the use of PPE, the use rate of PPE is not well known or easily determined. This project sought to develop a methodology suitable for any jurisdiction to employ when seeking data on the use rate of motorcycle PPE, and produce a valid assessment of the rate use of PPE. The methodology was deployed in Florida across two rounds of data collection.

Pilot Test of a Methodology for an Observation Survey of Motorcycle Personal Protective Equipment

This project addressed the need for information on use of motorcycle personal protective equipment (PPE), including the use of certified helmets, sturdy jackets and pants, over-the-ankle boots, and riding gloves. Although motorcycle safety advocates and safety programs encourage the use of PPE, the use rate is not well known or easily determined. This project sought to develop a methodology suitable for jurisdictions to use when seeking data on the motorcycle PPE usage, and to produce a valid assessment of PPE. The methodology was deployed in Florida across two rounds of data collection. The project outcome supports motorcycle safety programs and highway safety offices in their efforts to obtain information on the use rate of motorcycle safety gear.

State of Knowledge and Practice for Using Automated License Plate Readers for Traffic Safety Purposes

Automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) are an important tool in law enforcement and traffic safety. This report gathered information on and provided insight into law enforcement agency implementation and use of ALPRs for traffic safety purposes, with specific emphasis on its use for detecting drivers with revoked, suspended, or restricted licenses. Researchers used two research methods, a literature review and six case studies representing city, county, and State LEAs in a mix of geographic locations. The evidence gleaned from the case studies provides additional indicators to support the effectiveness of ALPR for traffic safety purposes—when viewed in terms of efficiency and productivity gains as well as improvements in traffic safety by culling vehicles that are more prone to crash risk. Effectiveness as a traffic safety countermeasure was often viewed as a secondary outcome—as a by-product of looking for stolen vehicles or other criminal activity.

For Access to older content please go to our archived Research page.