Kansas City, MO Defensive Driving Initiatives
To bolster efforts to advance driver safety, Drive By Example is recommending that state transportation officials and authorities, incorporate defensive driving initiatives into their strategic highway safety plans.
Defensive driving initiatives can be broadly defined as traffic safety campaigns, including educational and media programs, that influence drivers to take a more cautious approach to driving. Through a sustained commitment to defensive driving initiatives, states can significantly reduce the types of collisions that cause serious injury and roadway fatalities
With traffic deaths trending upward, an emphasis on defensive driving initiatives will be vital in meeting both short and longer term traffic safety goals. This is so because a well-designed defensive driving initiative will not only raise driver competency, but also set the foundations for driving culture change.
Unlike many existing driver safety programs, Drive By Example is unique in that it targets all drivers, young and old, and is designed to effectively address multiple driving safety priorities, including distracted driving prevention, occupant protection, and teen driver protection.
The Drive By Example Model
Drive By Example has developed a communications platform that can assist states who want to implement a comprehensive defensive driving initiative. Built on a clear, concise, and memorable driving safety message to “drive by example – alert, buckled, and cautious”, Drive By Example encourages drivers to adopt safe driving habits and behaviors that protect themselves, their passengers, and other on the road.
As a defensive driving initiative, Drive By Example is particularly effective because it counters the new universe of risk brought on by an ever-increasing number of distracted, impatient, and aggressive drivers.
Traditionally, states have fought against dangerous drivers by enacting laws and using law enforcement patrols to police the roads. However, when it comes to distracted, impatient, and aggressive drivers, states can no longer rely upon laws and law enforcement to reduce the rising number of dangerous drivers. This is particularly true in the present day when state highway patrols and local police are stretched thin and do not have the budget and resources for new enforcement initiatives.
Using the Drive By Example platform, states can influence a change in driver behavior by (1) alerting drivers to the new universe of roadway risk; and, (2) motivating those same drivers to respond to the threats of harm by adopting safe driving habits and behaviors.
This type of strategy to change driver behavior has worked in the past in the context of seat belt use. When seat belts were first introduced in the 1970s, they were very unpopular. However, in the latter half in the 1980s, seat belt use jumped dramatically due in large part to a seat belt safety campaign that used crash dummies to depict what can happen to a driver who is not wearing a seat belt at the time of a collision.
The lesson from seat belt campaigns is that drivers were motivated to change their habits and behaviors when presented with a perceived risk of bodily harm. With a commitment to defensive driving, states can employ the same strategy to reduce the number of dangerous drivers and significantly advance driver safety.
Governors Highway Safety Association
Drive By Example is a proud member of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The GHSA represents state highway safety offices and provides leadership for national traffic safety improvement.
In 2015, Drive By Example exhibited its state highway safety platform at the GHSA annual convention in Nashville. In a survey conducted by Drive By Example at the convention, the GHSA membership was overwhelming in favor of incorporating defensive driving initiatives to help them influence driver behavior change.