Traffic harmony in China? Investigating driver perceptions of traffic law enforcement and social responsibility for harmonious road use.

Fleiter, Judy J., Lennon, Alexia J., Watson, Barry C., King, Mark J., & Shi, Kan (2012) Traffic harmony in China? Investigating driver perceptions of traffic law enforcement and social responsibility for harmonious road use. In Conference on Psychology and Social Harmony 2012, Shanghai, China.


Social harmony can manifest in many ways. In rapidly motorizing countries like China, a growing area of potential disharmony is road use. The increased ability to purchase a car for the first time and a subsequent increase in new drivers has seen several Chinese cities take unprecedented measures to manage congestion. There is a corresponding need to ensure effective traffic law enforcement in promoting a safe environment for all road users. This paper reports qualitative research conducted with Beijing car drivers to investigate perceptions of unsafe road use, penalties for traffic violations, and improvements for the current system. Overall, the findings suggest awareness among drivers of many of the key risk factors. A perceived lack of clarity in how penalties are determined was identified and drivers in-dicated a desire to know how revenue from traffic fines is used. Several suggestions for improving the current system included school/community education about road risks and traffic law. The rise of private car ownership in China may contribute to a more harmonious personal life, but at the same time, may contribute to a decrease in societal harmony. A major challenge for authorities in any country is to promote the idea of a collective responsibility for road safety (traffic harmony), especially to those who perceive that traffic rules do not apply to them. This is a potentially greater challenge for China as it strives to balance harmony on the road and harmony in the broader society.

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ID Code: 56139
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: All papers accepted will be submitted to CPCI-SSH (ISSHP) database for indexing.
Keywords: driver behaviour, road safety, China, perceptions, traffic law enforcement, traffic psychology
ISBN: 978-1-61896-008-5
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 please consult the authors
Deposited On: 11 Jan 2013 01:16
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2013 18:44

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