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Driving Risk and Rural Life: Everyday and Reconstructed Realities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 11(2): 273-279. (doi: 10.13031/2013.18195) @2005
Authors:   J. P. Rothe, L. Elgert
Keywords:   Law enforcement, Rule-governed behavior, Traffic laws, Traffic safety

This article details the complex network of circumstances and meanings that influence rural peoples driving behavior, and describes the manner in which some rural drivers relevant social patterns support the everyday reality of driving and risk taking on rural roads. To fulfill the purpose of the study, 20 focus group interviews were conducted with 212 rural citizens in Alberta, Canada. The findings indicate that rural drivers routinely break traffic laws because: they do not perceive the harm in breaking laws, they believe that breaking laws is a natural thing to do, they negotiate the efficacy of laws according to their personal situations, and they believe in the maxim that the ends justify the means. It is common for rural drivers to break or negotiate traffic laws if it helps them in their work lives or in fulfillment of their immediate needs. They judge some traffic laws as unreasonable and question their effect on safety. Hence, they do not feel committed to universally honoring traffic laws. This information can be used to design intervention strategies for rural traffic safety that are relevant to rural drivers and thereby have optimal opportunity for success.

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