DOES TRAFFIC PSYCHOLOGY CONTRIBUTE TO TRAFFIC SAFETY?
 
Huguenin, R., Swiss Council for Accident Prevention bfu, Switzerland
 
Within the Traffic System "Road-Vehicle-Law-Environment-Human Being", according to the classic approach in traffic safety, the latter plays an important role. Very often the structure of the system is taken for granted except the element "road user" whose variability is considered as very high and the learned actions as reliable. Therefore many measures are focussed on this part of the system that should be modified in order to become safer. In order to facilitate this process, plenty of safety measures concentrate on education, instruction, campaigns and so on. Often the basis is related to (Traffic) Psychology or similar behavioural sciences which should improve road user's adequate adaptation to the traffic and the environment. The question arises, whether this concept is appropriate to the target group and the safety goals. Is this adaptation approach not overestimated regarding the contribution to safety? Would it not be necessary to adapt the rest of the system to the road user's limits? Or do we underestimate human being's learning capacity? Models and measures are discussed in this context in order to define the role of Traffic Psychology within the efforts for safety improvement.