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The Public Health Approach to Risky Driving
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HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE

PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH

BACKGROUND

KEY DEFINITIONS

SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL MODEL FOR DRIVER SAFETY

SHARED RISK FACTORS

SHARED PROTECTIVE FACTORS

BEHAVIOR CHANGE STRATEGIES

RECOMMENDATIONS


APPENDIX A: PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION GUIDE

 

APPENDIX B: EXPLORING KEY FACTORS FOR RISKY DRIVING


COMPLETE RESOURCE DOCUMENT




 

The principles of public health provide a useful framework for investigating and understanding the causes and consequences of a public health problem – including motor vehicle crash injuries and fatalities.

 

The public health approach consists of four key steps. Below is an explanation of how this could be applied to the prevention of motor vehicle-related injuries, reduction of motor-vehicle related fatalities, and promotion of safe driving practices:

 

Step 1: Define the Problem

Before addressing any injury-related problem, it is important to know the magnitude and scope of a problem, where the issue is, and whom it affects. This information can be obtained by gathering and analyzing data – through a process known as “surveillance”. Data can show how an injury problem changes over time, demonstrate trends among injury types, and highlight the impact of prevention programs. Decision makers often use data when allocating resources to programs in areas of need. 

 

Step 2: Identify Risk and Protective Factors

Once data have been used to define an injury-related topic, the identification of factors that put people at risk for injury should be explored. Conversely, the factors that protect from injury should be explored. Once the risk and protective factors are identified, practitioners can develop and implement programs to reduce or eliminate risk factors for injuries and promote or increase factors that protect against injuries. 

Step 3: Develop & Test Prevention Strategies 

This step involves putting knowledge into action to find out what works. Using information gathered through research and evaluation; strategies can be developed, implemented, and tailored toward the specific needs of communities that are experiencing the problem. The information feedback loop created by designing, implementing, and evaluating strategies or interventions help assess how well they are working. This approach allows for processes to be improved, addresses any barriers or challenges, and strengthens the effectiveness of strategies or interventions. 

Step 4: Assure Widespread Adoption

In this final step, knowledge is shared to implement effective and promising interventions in a wide range of settings. The effects of these interventions on risk factors and the target outcome should be monitored and evaluated for impact and cost-effectiveness. Techniques to promote widespread adoption can include training, networking, technical assistance, and evaluation. 

 

 

While not all persons or populations exhibit the same levels of a risky driving behavior, it is important to understand what factors protect people from or put them at risk for engaging in unsafe driving practices. Risk and protective factors are extremely useful in helping public health-related or traffic safety professionals identify where prevention efforts need to be focused. Risk and protective factors are an essential piece for developing, implementing, and evaluating programs or policies. They also inform continued surveillance and adoption of evidence-based programs across communities. 

 

 

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