How do Argentines behave when we drive?

fms_3305How are Argentines like when we drive, do we respect the signs, what happens with the use of the cell phone in the car, how do they think they drive, how do they think others drive?  All these data are part of a work carried out by the Research Secretariat of the Siglo 21 University, in more than 1.000 cases, entitled: "The role of the driver and non-compliance with traffic regulations."

The survey of the university most chosen by Argentines indicates that half of them acknowledge using the cell phone when driving both to speak and to send messages. In addition, 4 out of 10 respondents reported having crossed a red light in the last 3 months and 9 out of 10 regularly commit traffic offenses.

Regular drivers of motor vehicles (cars and / or motorcycles) of both sexes participated in the sample, aged between 18 and 60 years old and residing in the cities of: Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia, Córdoba, Corrientes , Mendoza, Rosario and San Miguel de Tucumán.

“The report presents some results of an investigative work that investigated beliefs and behaviors related to vehicular traffic in Argentina. The study participants were asked to express their opinion regarding 4 thematic areas: evaluation of the driver's role, non-compliance with traffic regulations, consequences of non-compliance with regulations and disposition to non-compliance with regulations ”, explained Mag. Gabriel Escanés, head of the Secretariat of Investigation of the University Siglo 21.

From 1 to 10 when talking about themselves, those consulted on average were classified with an 8.1. On the other hand, when talking about the driving of the others, they gave it a 5.2. This difference of almost 3 points in the ratings reveals the presence of a bias in the perception of the study participants, who consider themselves, in general, better drivers than the others. This positive bias in the evaluation that respondents make of themselves had already registered similar antecedents in an investigation carried out by the Universidad Siglo 21 in 2009.

An additional aspect to consider is that 94% of the participants in this study rate themselves better than the rest of the drivers. This low level of self-criticism that drivers are willing to do could represent one of the main difficulties in achieving improvements in their own behaviors while driving vehicles. In this sense, the perception of those surveyed leaves very little room for change “in the way” of driving, while it would be “other drivers” who should improve.

If opinions about how people of the same sex drive are taken into account (that is, men giving their opinion about how “they” drive and women giving their opinion about how “they” drive), the evaluation slightly favors women over those who drive. men, although that difference is small. "They" perceive themselves to be better drivers than "they".

If opinions on how people of different sex drive are taken into account (that is, men giving their opinion on how “they” drive and women giving their opinion on how “they” drive), the evaluation also slightly favors women over the men.

Whether it is men or women who evaluate how people of the same or different sex drive, women are perceived as better drivers than men.

Another aspect that was investigated in this research work refers to the perception of the study participants about their own behaviors of compliance -or non-compliance- of traffic regulations.

78% of those surveyed admit that they have not completely stopped the vehicle in front of the “STOP” sign, even when no other people were circulating on the cross road. Then the second most common offense among drivers is speeding allowed, 62% acknowledge that they exceeded it at least once in the last 3 months. 

Third, with a high proportion of offending drivers, is the conduct that omits the prohibition of using the cell phone simultaneously with driving the vehicle. In this regard, half of the respondents acknowledged having spoken on the phone, sent and / or received text messages. Finally, 4 out of 10 respondents reported having crossed a red light in the last 3 months.

When making a summary of the results, it can be said that 9 out of 10 Argentines commit traffic offenses.

Almost none of the offenders received a fine for failing to comply with the obligation to completely stop the vehicle in front of a “STOP” sign and, only 1 in 10 drivers who crossed a red light or used a cell phone while driving in the streets. last 3 months has received a fine for it. The highest proportion of infractions penalized with an economic sanction is linked to speeding beyond the permitted limits, although it is worth mentioning that it only reaches 25% of unscrupulous people.

The low proportions of offenders who received some financial punishment or a fine for breaking any of these 4 traffic regulations are, at least, not very encouraging. This prevalence of impunity -absence of punishment- in conduct considered “outside the norm” has considerable consequences for the legitimacy of road regulations, the application of justice and the social fabric, among other aspects.

Finally, the last aspect that was investigated in this research work refers to the willingness of drivers to violate traffic regulations. In other words, respondents were asked about the probability that they would adopt behaviors considered “outside” the norm. For this, specific conditions were defined that try to place the driver in a context of non-compliance with each of the rules considered above:

- "... When a family member calls me on my cell phone while I'm driving, I answer because it may be something important ...".
- "... If I go back to my house at dawn, I pass some red lights if no one comes ...".
- "... When I see the" Stop "sign, I slow down, but I don't brake at all ...".
- "... If I'm in a hurry, I'm going a little faster than I should ...".

Regarding the willingness to break the rules, the results do not appear as encouraging either. 77,5% of the drivers who participated in this study indicated that it is probable or very probable that they will exceed the maximum speed limit in case of being in a hurry. Then, 73,4% of those surveyed expressed the same level of propensity to breach the obligation to completely stop the vehicle before a “STOP” sign. And finally, half of those surveyed said that they are likely or very likely to cross red lights in the early morning hours and answer a cell phone call while driving.



Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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