NRSC 2019: Topical topics

13.51 | 13 November 2019 |

The penultimate session of the 2019 National Road Safety Conference looks at topical topics.


  • Dr Kate Skellington Orr, director, KSO Research
  • Dr Daryl Hibberd, AECOM & Kate Barber, Highways England

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Dr Daryl Hibberd, Human Factors Consultant, AECOM Strategic Consultancy & Kate Barber, Senior Advisor, Social Research & Behaviour Change, Highways England.

Daryl Hibberd is a human factors consultant with experience in the collection of naturalistic driving data, delivery of on-road trials, and design and analysis of driving simulator studies. He has 10 years of experience in the field of road safety, and works to ensure that evidence-based research is used effectively to inform road safety policy.

Kate Barber is a part of the team of social scientists at Highways England providing a better understanding of customers – their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours – and working with them to deliver change. 

Presentation: Using naturalistic driving data to inform behavioural change interventions

Helping build the evidence base:

  • Naturalistic driving data used to shape Space Invader campaign

Naturalistic driving and the UDRIVE project

Naturalistic driving: prolonged, unobtrusive observation of drivers in their natural setting.


  • Detailed insight into a small sample of drivers.
  • Data supported by video and exact location (GPS)
  • Attitude and personality survey responses


  • Close following 
  • Interaction with vulnerable road users
  • Seat belt law compliance
  • Eco-driving
  • Mobile phone use

UDrive database

In the UK: 30 cars, 51 drivers – equating to 60,140 trips over two years

Attitude and personality surveys:

  • Driver Attitudes Questionnaire (DAQ)
  • Traffic Locus of Control (T-LOC)
  • Driver Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ)
  • Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking (AISS)
  • Driving Style Questionnaire (DSQ)

Found that… drivers in the sample speed for less than 10% of most trips

  • <10% of time spent speeding in 54% of trips
  • <20% of time spent speeding in 83% of trips
  • 41% of drivers in the sample speed more on the motorway, than other road types.
  • 17% of speeding in the sample happens in wet weather.
  • >50% of time spent speeding in <1% of trips

In the UK sample, most speeding is below Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) threshold

  • Speed limit + 10% + 2mph
  • Mean speed does not exceed the ACPO threshold in 81% of UK speeding cases in the sample of 51 drivers.
  • As speed limit increases, the proportion of speeding cases that do not exceed the ACPO threshold increases.

Personality correlates with observed speeding

  • Drivers in the sample are aware that they speed
  • Drivers in the sample who dislike interference with their driving, speed more
  • Self-reported aggressive drivers speed more
  • Self-reported violators (breaking speed limit, under-taking, jumping red lights) speed more
  • Drivers with a negative attitude towards speeders speed less (on the motorway)

Driving styles – what are the behaviours?

The frequency of certain types of driving event gives us an indication of driving style:

  • Strong accelerations – positive correlation with self-reported sensation-seeking, driving errors and willingness to blame others for accidents.
  • Strong decelerations – does not correlate with self-reported personality
  • Strong steering events – positive correlation with self-reported speeding and willingness to blame others for accidents
  • Overtaking on single-carriageway roads – Positive correlation with self-reported speeding, sensation-seeking, self-report driving errors and willingness to blame others for accidents
  • Repeated close following behaviours – positive correlation with self-reported aggressive violations (e.g. road rage). No correlation with sensation seeking.
  • Speed choice – does not correlate with self-reported personality.

Co-occurrence of speeding and close following

  • Four of the top 10 speeders were in the top 5 for severe close following cases on the motorway

What have we learnt?

  • Indications of prevalence of speeding in a sample of 51 drivers and the factors that influence it.
  • Driver personality and its links to driving performance.
  • Evidence that risky or unsafe behaviours tend to co-occur.
  • Campaign insight

13.45: Dr Kate Skellington Orr, Director, KSO Research

Dr Kate Skellington has worked as an academic, government and private sector researcher for nearly 20 years, including time spent at the Home Office and the Scottish Government.

She specialises in community safety and criminal justice research and has worked on numerous evaluations for Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Prison Service, among others.

Presentation: An Evaluation of Road Safety Scotland’s Theatre in Education Performances


Road Safety Scotland’s Theatre in Education (TiE) programme includes:

  • The Journey (for Primary 6 or 7 pupils) 
  • School Daze (for Secondary 1 pupils)
  • Friends Disunited (for Secondary 5/6 pupils)
  • Better Late than Dead on Time (for community audiences)  

The evaluation focussed on:

  • Impact of performances on road safety attitudes
  • self-reported change in behaviour
  • processes involved in delivery
  • wider awareness of TiE


School Performances (12 schools sampled on geography/SIMD)

  • pre and post surveys
  • focus groups
  • ‘quick think’ posters and collage – ‘an alternative way of meaning making’
  • teacher feedback

Community performances (four audiences opportunistically sampled) 

  • feedback gathered to fit with the needs/preferences of audiences/organisers
  • mix of mini-groups, focus groups, exit interviews, surveys and interactive feedback tasks

Local authority interviews (16 ‘opted in’ in total)

  • short telephone interviews
  • awareness of the RSS TiE programme
  • perceptions of its usefulness and impact

The journey:

  • pupils and teachers alike responded well to the performance
  • fear of death/accidents was strong among this group
  • key learning point around car stopping distances 
  • good awareness of themselves as road safety role models
  • need to reinforce importance of wearing a helmet when cycling/scootering – pupils rated this as being only moderately risky
  • evidence of a primacy-recency effect for recall – length and complexity could be reduced to improve retention of key messages

School daze:

  • all pupils and teachers found the performance entertaining, engaging and interesting throughout
  • relatability of the School Daze characters a particular strength
  • recall of main messages reasonably strong but there was less recall of factual content
  • evidence that pupils may be more likely to remember events if they happen to someone they know or like
  • schools particularly welcomed the timing of the performance at the start of the new school year with pupils transitioning to high school, but there was an identified need for older pupils at S2/3/4

Friends disunited:

  • very little negative feedback but considerably more variation in self-reported risk-taking behaviours and engagement compared to younger audiences
  • risky pedestrian behaviours were more evident 
  • older pupils failed to recognise the risks attached to unsafe pedestrian behaviours (with less expressed fear of consequences too)
  • greatest perceived risks were those linked to illegal behaviours (such as driving while drunk or intoxicated)
  • cost messages had greatest resonance 

Better late than dead on time:

  • Relatable to a diverse audience group i.e. ‘something for everyone’
  • A chance to revisit road safety, which most adults had not done in years

Some views from older adults…

“…we already know this stuff.  We’re more likely to be the victim of someone else’s bad driving, rather than causing an accident, I think.” [Male, 40+]

“I’d be lying if I said I’d never done anything dangerous.  I remember when you would get in a car with someone who’d had a drink. Everyone just did it.” [Female, 65+]

“Road safety just doesn’t seem to be on the awareness agenda.  When I was growing up, you had a lot more education and the roads are even more dangerous now.” [Female, 50+]

Recap – broad themes

Understanding and relatability:

  • understanding of content was clear
  • no ambiguity about the road safety themes being conveyed
  • relatability a real strength of all tours

Mode of delivery:

  • audiences welcomed theatre as a mode of delivery
  • exposure to educational drama of this kind otherwise limited

Individual differences:

  • no clear gender differences across any of the audience groups
  • no notable differences by geography/SIMD 
  • youngest audiences showed greatest awareness of need for positive role modelling


  • all audiences more likely to see themselves as victims of others’ unsafe behaviour rather than as perpetrators of risk themselves 

Recall and impacts

Recall of content and main messages:

  • recall strong in the short-term (on the day)
  • particularly good immediate recall of hard-hitting statistics
  • some statistics misinterpreted 
  • longer-term recall (at 3 months) less concrete

Behaviour and attitude change:

  • no measurable impacts on road safety attitudes
  • no measurable impacts on self-reported frequency of engaging in risky road safety behaviours
  • audiences felt that they were already safe in their road safety behaviours (especially older audiences) 
  • all audiences showed a good awareness of road safety risks
  • the programme reinforces what audiences already know

Assessing value for money:

Other than reducing the reach of the TiE programme, the evaluation showed that there appears to be little scope for cost savings

  • money is already spent efficiently
  • there are few costs incurred beyond the core RSS allocation

Added value is achieved from the guaranteed reach that theatre provides when compared to online and printed resources, i.e. captive audiences  

There is also a strong probability, based on learning from the research, that if TiE was removed or reduced, it would not be replaced with alternative provision by schools or local authorities themselves

The value in retaining TiE, although not measurable, is that this situation of ‘no provision’ is avoided


  • strong appetite for the continued delivery of TiE among learning professionals, pupils and local authorities alike
  • the biggest challenge appears to be around getting key partners more involved in consolidating the messages that the programme delivers, especially learning professionals and local authorities
  • ongoing monitoring and evaluation also seem key. Measuring impacts is challenging, but more reliable and independent means of assessing impact on an ongoing basis will help to inform the assessment of value in the longer term 



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