|Ph.D Student||Factor Ron|
|Subject||The Influence of Social Characteristics on Drivers|
Involvement in Traffic Accidents
|Department||Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering||Supervisors||Professor David Mahalel|
|Dr. Yair Gad|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The aim of the research is to propose a model that includes a theoretical sociological explanation for inter-group differences in road safety and for "social accidents", defined as collisions between two or more drivers. The proposed model benefits from prior research, which found inter-group differences in various areas of road safety - accident- involvement rates, attitudes towards road safety, speed-limit violations, seat-belt usage, crossing an intersection during a red light, and more. The main argument here is that road-traffic crashes are embedded in the social context; therefore, inter-group differences stem in part from cultural differences between groups in the population. Another goal of the study is to explore differences in risk level and involvement rates among different social groups in Israel.
The research hypotheses were examined by a merged database that was constructed particularly for the current work. The database integrates road-traffic crash records from 1983 to 2004 with census data from 1983 and 1995. The files were merged at the individual level by using drivers’ personal Identification Numbers. This unique database enriches the road-traffic crash records with socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Furthermore, an estimated daily average distance traveled per driver was calculated from the Travel Habits Survey and added to the merged database.
Similar to previous research, this study found that a significant difference exists in risk and involvement level among drivers from different social groups who are involved in fatal and severe accidents. Men, young drivers, low education, low socioeconomic status, and non-Jews are the groups found to have the highest risk level and involvement rate in relation to distance traveled and per licensed driver.
A comparison of "social" and "individual" accidents, which was made by Multiple Correspondence Analysis, indicates that each of these accident types has distinctive characteristics. "Social accidents" tend to occur at intersections, weekdays, and day time. It also seems that women, adult drivers, and drivers with a high level of education are more apt to be involved in "social accidents".
A bivariate analysis of “social accidents” shows that, for most demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, there are relatively more "social accidents" between drivers belonging to the same social group. Additional multivariate analyses, which included a variety of control variables, found that there are more collisions among drivers from the same schooling group than could be expected randomly, and that the factors influencing this correlation are independent of geography.