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Driver Perceptions in Kansas Vary with Gender, Age and Geography


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Driver Perceptions in Kansas Vary with Gender, Age and Geography

Study reveals differences in how Kansans view road safety issues

If you are a woman, are from Johnson County, or have no children under 18 at home, chances are you feel pretty good about your driving skills.

But if you are age 26 to 35, are a man, or are from Arkansas City or Topeka, you are more likely to admit you could do a better job when you get behind the wheel.

These were just a few of the sometimes-surprising driver attitudes revealed by a recent Kansas Department of Transportation survey. The research was conducted to help craft a campaign to improve safety on Kansas roads. KDOT officials used the survey information to enhance the effectiveness of their new "Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry. " campaign.

"Safe/Not Sorry" is a public education program aimed at reducing the number of crashes on Kansas roadways by encouraging drivers to demonstrate common sense and courtesy, be mindful of road conditions and obey traffic laws. The budget for this campaign comes from federal funds resulting from the Kansas Legislature's approval of a drunk-driving standard of .08 percent blood-alcohol content.

The telephone survey of 401 licensed Kansas drivers revealed significant differences in driver attitudes depending on factors such as gender, age and geography. It also found people are much more willing to point the finger at others for unsafe driving, than to admit they themselves could be part of the problem.

At the same time, the study showed areas of common ground when it comes to how Kansans view driving safety. In this age of mobile phones, drive-through restaurants, hand-held computers and generally hectic lifestyles, motorists clearly agree inattentive driving is a major problem. Other key safety issues for survey respondents are speeding and lack of common sense.

Rosalie Thornburgh, chief of KDOT's Bureau of Traffic Safety, said the statewide survey affirmed that Kansans understand the importance of demonstrating common sense and courtesy when driving. She said the goal of the

"Safe. Not Sorry." campaign will be to remind the public to consistently observe safe driving practices.

"The survey helped determine the types of marketing concepts and messages most likely to cause people to voluntarily approach their driving with safety in mind," Thornburgh said. "KDOT's goal is for drivers to assume a personal responsibility to practice safe driving habits."

Other findings of the "Safe. Not Sorry." driver survey:

  • Drivers in Arkansas City, Salina, Manhattan and Hays generally felt better about the overall quality of driving in the state than did drivers in other areas. Men and drivers age 18 to 25 shared this positive outlook.

  • Drivers in Johnson County, Lyons, Topeka, and Fort Scott generally felt worse about the overall quality of driving in the state than did drivers in other areas. Women and drivers with no children under 18 at home shared this view.

  • Drivers in Johnson County, Salina and Fort Scott rated their own driving habits more highly than other drivers rated theirs.

  • Arkansas City, Lyons and Topeka drivers felt worse about their driving habits than survey respondents as a whole.

  • Johnson County drivers rated themselves most highly on using common sense while driving.

  • Wichita drivers said they were best at devoting full attention to driving.

  • Drivers in Salina, Lyons and Hays, as well as drivers age 66 and older, said they were best at staying within the speed limit.

  • Wichita residents and drivers age 18 to 25 admitted to straying above speed limits, while Lyons drivers said they could improve on devoting full attention to driving.

  • Drivers in Arkansas City and Topeka expressed the least amount of confidence in their ability to respond to changing driving conditions.

  • Fort Scott drivers felt a lack of courtesy on Kansas roads was a concern.

  • Drivers age 66 and older are most concerned with speeders.

  • A majority of drivers said messages urging motorists to use good sense and courtesy would be the most effective in improving safety on Kansas roadways

This page last updated 03/22/01