Driver's views and behaviors about safety in China - What do they NOT know about driving?

Wei Zhang, Yueng Hsiang Huang, Matthias Roetting, Ying Wang, Hua Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Driving safety has become an extremely severe problem in China due to rapid motorization. Unless more effective measures are taken, the fatality risk and the total fatalities due to road traffic accidents are expected to continue to increase. Therefore, focus group discussions were conducted to explore driver attitudes and safe driver characteristics. The results were then compared with a similar study conducted with US drivers. Although similarities were found, differences were of more importance. The Chinese drivers concentrate more on driving skills and capabilities, whereas the US drivers concentrate more on practical safe driving guidelines. Then direct field observations were conducted for the Chinese drivers to empirically investigate the issues discovered. The use of safety belts, running lights, headlights, and turn signals were observed to investigate the drivers' behaviors. Results show that the safety belt use ratio is about 64%, running light use is nearly zero during rainy and snowy weather, headlights use after sunset is substantially delayed, and only about 40% of drivers use turn signals to indicate their intention to change lanes. These findings indicate that the authorities need to take appropriate countermeasures to change the views of the Chinese drivers regarding driving safety and their unsafe driving behaviors. Improvement of training content and methods as well as police enforcement would be recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Driving safety
  • Field observation
  • Focus group
  • Motorization
  • Traffic accident

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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