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5 CHAPTER 3 Countermeasure Classification Behavioral change techniques used in highway safety to be under their control, insulating themselves by creating countermeasures basically fall into one of the following four "illusory zones of immunity" around everyday activities categories: (Jasanoff, 1998). This sense of subjective immunity is bol- stered by the belief of most people that their own driving skills 1. Voluntary action (public information, education, mass are superior (Williams, Paek, and Lund, 1995). Crashes happen, media, training); but to other drivers; the highway safety problem is a problem of 2. Laws, regulations, policies; the other driver. We want those other drivers to behave on the 3. Laws plus enhancements (enforcement plus publicity); or highways since they are a threat to us and, in that context, safety 4. Sanctions and treatments (fines, points, jail, alcohol school, messages are for them, not us. In general, people have an opti- license suspension). mistic bias, thinking that they are less likely than others to suf- fer misfortunes (Maibach and Holtgrave, 1995). Therefore, it is not surprising that this so-called "third-person effect" is found Changing Driver Behavior in a number of health realms. People viewing health messages There are many issues and challenges that need to be con- believe the message is for others, not themselves (Davison, sidered with respect to changing driver behavior. One issue is 1983). This is likely to be even more of a factor in regard to that safe driving practices and protective behaviors (such as highway safety, given the psychological tendency of people helmet use) have to be practiced on each trip. Measures that to protect themselves by minimizing the possibility of harm have only a short-term effect with no lasting behavioral change to themselves resulting from the everyday activity of driving. contribute little. Long-term effects are much harder to achieve Finally, crashes, especially those that produce injuries, are than immediate ones, and some behaviors are more difficult extremely rare events per mile driven. Speeding, driving while to implement than others. For example, converting motor- impaired, running red lights, and other dangerous and illegal cyclists to helmet use requires them to purchase a helmet and behaviors generally have no downside. In this sense, drivers always wear it, which may seem uncomfortable and intrusive. are rewarded every time they complete a trip involving these Potential users may be opposed to helmet use for intellectual actions. All of these factors, taken together, pose significant and emotional reasons. In comparison, wearing an already barriers to influencing driving behavior. available seat belt, which is less intrusive than a helmet, should That said, some groupings can be expected to have more be an easy sell. effective countermeasures than others. For example, laws are In general, most people know what they are supposed to do generally more effective than requesting voluntary actions in on the highway in terms of safe driving practices; it is not a terms of producing behavior change; enhanced laws should be matter of lack of knowledge. What people actually do, how- more effective than laws alone. Within each of the four cate- ever, is guided by attitudes, motivations, lifestyle factors, and gories, however, some countermeasures work and some do not. assumptions about risk. Veteran drivers have well-developed habits that pose a challenge to change. Moreover, from risk Cautions About the perception research it is known that in very familiar activities Countermeasures such as driving, there is a tendency to minimize the possibil- ity of bad outcomes as a way of allaying personal concerns As indicated earlier, one issue in determining the effec- (Douglas, 1985). People underestimate risks that are supposed tiveness of a countermeasure is that one type of program or