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"Crashing the gates" - Selection criteria for television news reporting of traffic crashes

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... With the exception of a former police chief, few other VRUs received humanizing media reports. These findings, while specific to VRUs, are aligned with previous research that found increased media coverage for traffic crashes that were more severe, involved younger people, and had female fatalities (De Ceunynck et al., 2015). ...
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Media coverage of traffic crashes involving people walking and bicycling tends to frame crashes as isolated events rather than as a public health problem that disproportionately affects vulnerable populations. This study assessed public health framing in local media coverage of traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in Hawai‘i. We systematically searched the websites of all major local news sources (newspapers and local television stations) to identify articles about Hawai‘i traffic crashes involving pedestrians/bicyclists that were published in 2019. Using content analysis, we extracted information on title and article attributes, crash details, language patterns, and public health framing elements. After screening 738 news articles for inclusion, 162 articles comprised the final sample. These articles reported on 164 crash events, representing 57 unique crash events. Most articles described the crashes factually as isolated events. Language patterns in article titles were non-agentive (77%) and focused on the pedestrian or bicyclist (77%) without mentioning the driver or vehicle (69%). When articles ascribed agents, vehicles (53%) were mentioned more often than drivers (13%). One-quarter of articles contained a counterfactual that subtly assigned responsibility for the crash to the person walking or bicycling. About 15% of articles described a traffic safety solution. These findings serve as a benchmark for local media coverage and can be used to inform state-level actions to improve local media reporting. Media coverage that considers the contextual and systematic factors contributing to the crash could better support local government policy change to protect pedestrians and bicyclists.
... Accidents and injuries involving PeTs receive a lot of attention in mass media, but the true extent of the accident risk is unknown [38]. It has been shown that the volume of mass media coverage of a particular type of crash is a poor indicator of its true frequency [39]. Anecdotal evidence suggests that PeTs may have a higher accident risk than other modes of active transport [6]. ...
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In the last few years, there has been a strong increase in the interest in and usage of so-called “Personal e-Transporters” (PeTs), also referred to as micro-mobility devices. Empirical research on the usage of PeTs as a transport mode is virtually non-existent, especially within Europe. This paper aims to fill this gap by investigating people’s motivations and barriers to the use of PeTs. To this end, a behavioural survey was conducted in nine European cities. A representative sample of approximately 250 respondents per city was collected, resulting in a dataset, after data cleaning, of 2159 observations. Generally, respondents’ perceptions of PeTs are not (yet) very favourable. Respondents’ perceptions related to cost and safety received the lowest scores. The results from the transtheoretical model of behavioural change show that a variety of factors influence the stage of behavioural change in which the respondents can be situated. These factors include cycling norms, current walking behaviour, walking attitudes, pro-environmental orientation, gender, PeTs possession, cycling obstacles and subscription to a bicycle sharing service. An important strength of this study lies in the international nature and the size of the data collection, ensuring the reliability and transferability of the results to other cities. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first large-scale survey to investigate people’s travel behaviour related to the usage of PeTs and possibly the only large-scale investigation that took place before the deployment of shared e-scooters in many European cities. Furthermore, an explicit link is made with other modes of active transport (walking and cycling).
... However, how women are overrepresented by media has rarely been studied. Among the few existing studies, scholars have found that women are overrepresented as slim and attractive figures (Fouts & Burggraf, 1999;Zhang, Dixon, & Conrad, 2010), or in roles such as housewives (Paek, Nelson, & Vilela, 2011;Sink & Mastro, 2017) or victims (Clifford, Jensen, & Petee, 2009;De Ceunynck, De Smedt, Daniels, Wouters, & Baets, 2015). This reveals that women remain the subjects of stereotyped coverage. ...
Article
The body of literature on underrepresentation and gender inequality is vast. However, despite its potential to perpetuate gender stereotypes, the overrepresentation of women in media has received inadequate attention. This study explores how traditional news media and social media overrepresent females as drivers when discussing traffic accidents, and whether social media could be the ‘new equalizer’ for gender. Focusing on China, we collected 97,120 posts from Weibo, China’s largest microblogging site, and 11,290 newspaper articles dated between January 2010 and November 2018. We analyzed the data through a mixed-methods design and found that female drivers are overrepresented in discussions of traffic accidents, in both newspapers and on Weibo. While the gender bias against female drivers is more prevalent on Weibo than in newspapers, Weibo has provided a platform for gender-aware discussion. Our study closes by offering suggestions for cross-platform and cross-cultural comparisons of gender representation in the digital age.
... -Not all crashes are reported and included in official crash databases. Moreover, the level of underreporting is not constant and depends among other things on the severity of the crash and the type of road users involved (Alsop & Langley, 2001;Amoros et al., 2006;De Ceunynck et al., 2015b;Elvik & Mysen, 1999;Hauer & Hakkert, 1988). -Crashes are complex events in the sense that most crashes are in fact caused by an accumulation of multiple factors and failures (Reason et al., 2006). ...
Thesis
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This dissertation looks into surrogate safety measures and behavioural indicators that are collected through site-based observations. Surrogate safety measures are defined as measurements that are used to describe the relationship between two road users in a traffic event for the purpose of quantifying the crash probability and/or the potential crash severity in a meaningful way. The main goal of this dissertation is to contribute to filling methodological knowledge gaps in site-based observations of surrogate safety measures and road users’ behaviour, and to investigate how such observations can be used to study road safety issues for which crash data appear to be less suitable. The dissertation includes a scoping review that investigates in a comprehensive and quantitative way how surrogate safety measures have been applied so far. The theoretical framework and first implementation of a new indicator, Extended Delta-V, are presented. Three case studies have been conducted that aim to further investigate how site-based observations of road users’ behaviour and interactions could supplement or even replace surrogate safety measures, especially when severe events take place infrequently and/or dispersed. The case studies relate to: 1) the safety of bicyclists on bus lanes shared with bicyclists, 2) drivers’ behavioural adaptions caused by wind turbines alongside the roadway, and 3) differences in drivers’ interactions at right-hand priority intersections and priority-controlled intersections. The case studies provide some safety-relevant insights into topics that have rarely been addressed in scientific literature before. Policy and design implications are discussed.
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Introduction: The market share of e-scooters in the United States has proliferated in cities: 86 million trips were made on shared e-scooters in 2019, a more than 100% increase compared to 2018. However, the interaction of e-scooters with other road users and infrastructure remains uncertain. Method: This study scrutinized 52 e-scooter and 79 bicycle police-reported crashes in Nashville, Tennessee, from April 2018 to April 2020 from the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN) database. We used descriptive analysis and a recent prototype version of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool (PBCAT) to classify crashes based on the locations of the crashes relative to roadway segments or intersections, as well as the maneuver of the motor vehicle and e-scooter/bicycle relative to the motor vehicle. Results: Two crash typologies can explain the majority of e-scooter crashes, while bicycle crashes are distributed over several crash typologies. Additionally, 1 in 10 e-scooter- and bicycle-motor vehicle crashes leads to the injury or fatality of the e-scooter rider or bicyclist. Furthermore, we noted statistically significant differences in spatial and temporal distribution, demographics, lighting conditions, and crash distance from home for e-scooter and bicycle crashes. Conclusions: The police crash report provides a comprehensive picture of e-scooter safety complementing existing literature. We found that e-scooter crash characteristics do not fully overlap with features of bicycle crashes. Practical implications: A generalized engineering, education, and enforcement treatment to reduce and prevent e-scooter and bicycle crashes, injuries, and fatalities might not result in equal outcomes for each mode. More rigorous enforcement could be implemented to deter e-scooters riders under the age of 18 years and e-scooter safety campaigns could target female riders.
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According to previous studies, women political leaders often are cast by the media as focused narrowly on matters of significance to their gender, and as being less weighty players in government than their male counterparts. This research explores the degree to which the press offices of women members of Congress perceive this to be the case, and the degree to which women representatives' communication efforts contribute to this pattern of coverage. Interviews with press secretaries to House members reveal that press secretaries find the media to be less fair in their treatment of women members, and that they believe women members are subject to sex role stereotyping. Contrary to the media's depiction, however, Congressional press secretaries and House member Web sites reveal that women members portray themselves, and seek to be portrayed, as having diverse interests and significant influence in Washington. Thus, it appears that the media, rather than the members and their staffers, are responsible for the stereotyped coverage that women representatives receive.
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Sur un ensemble de donnees recueillies a l'echelon national, l'A. examine l'impact visuel et auditif des journaux televises sur la memorisation, compare les deux types d'impact, les presentations visuelles, les stereotypes, et met en evidence la predominance de l'impact visuel sur l'impact auditif
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This paper describes a case study in Flanders–Belgium on the reporting rate of road crashes. Crash data from three sources were compared: official crash data, data retrieved from an insurance company and newspaper articles. A sample of 140 injury crashes with motorcyclists from an insurance company was used as the reference category. The purpose was to explore factors that contribute to the likelihood of crashes (not) to be reported in official statistics and newspapers. Logistic regression analyses and chi-square tests were used to reveal differences in reporting rate according to some variables. About 80% of the crashes with severe injuries were reported in the official statistics whereas the reporting rate for crashes with slightly injured was about 55%. Newspapers covered about 50% of crashes with severe injuries. The reporting rate in both official statistics and newspapers increased with the severity of the crash.
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Increased use of the car in the everyday transport of children can lead to environmental problems, and cause increased obesity and decreased independence among children. Using a structural equation model we investigate the influence of a range of background variables on mode choice for Norwegian children’s transport to school or leisure activities. Distance to school and children’s age were the most influential variables on children’s independent mobility, measured as an index. Objective descriptors of the traffic environment only explain independent mobility via parents’ safety experience.
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Motorcycles are overrepresented in road traffic crashes and particularly vulnerable at signalized intersections. The objective of this study is to identify causal factors affecting the motorcycle crashes at both four-legged and T signalized intersections. Treating the data in time-series cross-section panels, this study explores different Hierarchical Poisson models and found that the model allowing autoregressive lag-1 dependence specification in the error term is the most suitable. Results show that the number of lanes at the four-legged signalized intersections significantly increases motorcycle crashes largely because of the higher exposure resulting from higher motorcycle accumulation at the stop line. Furthermore, the presence of a wide median and an uncontrolled left-turn lane at major roadways of four-legged intersections exacerbate this potential hazard. For T signalized intersections, the presence of exclusive right-turn lane at both major and minor roadways and an uncontrolled left-turn lane at major roadways increases motorcycle crashes. Motorcycle crashes increase on high-speed roadways because they are more vulnerable and less likely to react in time during conflicts. The presence of red light cameras reduces motorcycle crashes significantly for both four-legged and T intersections. With the red light camera, motorcycles are less exposed to conflicts because it is observed that they are more disciplined in queuing at the stop line and less likely to jump start at the start of green.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Texas at Austin, 1996. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 99-107).
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Several studies show that the risks of injury to pedestrians and cyclists are highly non-linear. This means that the more pedestrians or cyclists there are, the lower is the risk faced by each pedestrian or cyclist. On the other hand, the more motor vehicles there are, the higher becomes the risk faced by each pedestrian or cyclist. The relationships found in previous studies suggest that if very large transfers of trips from motor vehicles to walking or cycling take place, the total number of accidents may be reduced. The "safety in numbers" effect for pedestrians and cyclists would then combine favourably with the effect of a lower number of motor vehicles to produce a lower total number of accidents. This paper explores if such an effect is possible, relying on the findings of studies that show the non-linearity of injury risks for pedestrians and cyclists. It is found that for very large transfers of trips from motor vehicles to walking or cycling, a reduction of the total number of accidents is indeed possible. This shows that the high injury rate for pedestrians and cyclists in the current transport system does not necessarily imply that encouraging walking or cycling rather than driving will lead to more accidents.
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Traffic crashes are a major cause of injury and death. Although it has been argued that a skewed estimation of personal risks may be partly attributable to news representations of mortality causes, the manners in which traffic crashes are covered in the news have not received much attention in the literature. The current study used content analysis to examine the framing of traffic crashes in television news. The data indicated that Flemish television news does not report traffic crashes from a public health perspective and consequently it misses opportunities to inform the public on the causes and consequences of risk-taking in traffic. It is important that professionals are aware of these findings and stress contextual factors surrounding traffic crashes in their communication with journalists. This may lead to more accurate reports and a more accurate risk perception of viewers.
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This paper reports the initial impact on motor vehicle crashes and casualties resulting from recent efforts to crackdown on drinking drivers in Arizona. Like similar efforts throughout the United States, Arizona lawmakers adopted tough, deterrence-based legislation as the state's chief response to heightened concern with the problem of alcohol-impaired driving. The impact of the new law was measured using interrupted time-series analysis of traffic data. The results indicated that the legal intervention had no deterrent effect. An examination of possible competing events suggested that significant deterrence of drinking and driving was achieved prior to introduction of the new law. Initiation of this effect was attributed to preexisting anti-drunk-driving publicity.
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A correlational examination of 54 consecutive months of data from British Columbia on the relationships among the number of vehicles checked in police drinking-driving roadchecks, the number of driving while impaired (DWI) charges laid, the number and percent of alcohol-related casualty traffic accidents, and the extent of media coverage on drinking-driving (as measured by print media coverage), revealed that: the extent of media coverage, and not the extent of roadchecks or charging activity is probably the critical element in the reduction of drinking-driving accidents. The failure of the minimally publicized April-May 1984 British Columbia police roadcheck "blitz" to reduce either the number or proportion of alcohol-related casualty traffic accidents lent support to these correlational findings.
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To examine the public health messages conveyed by newspaper coverage of fatal motor vehicle crashes and determine the extent to which press coverage accurately reflects real risks and crash trends. Crash details were extracted from two years of newspaper coverage of fatal crashes in four Midwestern cities in the United States. Details and causal factors identified by reporters were compared to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) using odds ratios and two tailed z tests. Papers covered 278 fatal crashes over the two year period, in contrast to 846 fatal crashes documented in FARS. Papers assigned blame in 90% of crashes covered, under-reported restraint use and driver's risk of death, failed to reflect the protective value of restraints, and misrepresented the roles played by alcohol and teen drivers. Newspaper coverage did not accurately reflect real risk. Papers presented fatal crashes as dramas with a victim/villain storyline; in keeping with this narrative strategy, papers were most likely to cover stories where a driver survived to take the blame. By highlighting crashes that diverge from the norm, focusing on the assignment of blame to a single party, and failing to convey the message that preventive practices like seatbelt use increase odds for survival, newspapers removed crashes from a public health context and positioned them as individual issues. Public health practitioners can work with media outlets in their areas to draw attention to misrepresentations and change the way these stories are framed.
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Accident investigations influence public perceptions and safety management strategies by determining the amount and type of information learned about the accident. To examine the factors considered in investigations, this study used a content analysis of 100 consecutive media reports of amusement ride accidents from an online media archive. Fatalities were overrepresented in the media dataset compared with U.S. national estimates. For analysis of reports, a modified "Haddon matrix" was developed using human-factors categories. This approach was useful to show differences between the proportions and types of factors considered in the different accident stages and between employee and rider accidents. Employee injury accounts primarily referred to the employee's task and to the employee. Rider injury reports were primarily related to the ride device itself and rarely referred to the rider's "task", social influences, or the rider's own actions, and only some reference to their characteristics. Qualitatively, it was evident that more human factors analysis is required to augment scant pre-failure information about the task, social environment, and the person, to make that information available for prevention of amusement ride accidents. By design, this study reflected information reported by the media. Future work will use the same techniques with official reports.
Annual Traffic Safety Report: Analysis of Traffic Safety Indicators in Flanders up to and Including
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Statistics Belgium, Belgian Federal Government (2013). Population structure according to residence: surface and population density (In Dutch). Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://statbel.fgov.be/nl/statistieken/cijfers/bevolking/ structuur/woonplaats/oppervlakte_dichtheid/.
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