The voice of lay experts: Content analysis of traffic accident "talk-backs"

Fabienne Sikron, Orna Baron-Epel, Shai Linn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Every year, more than 500 people are killed on the roads in Israel and more than 3000 are seriously injured. The most dominant factor in understanding the chain of events leading to an accident is the human factor, and understanding driver's perceptions of the issue are necessary for interventions to be effective. Internet "talk-backs" to accident news items were used as an innovative data source in the present content analysis. In contrast to other qualitative techniques, such as focus groups or interviews, the debate is spontaneous and open to a large audience. The aim of this study was to provide structured and in-depth information about road users' attitudes and beliefs towards road accidents and their prevention. The total number of "talk-backers" during the 4 months analyzed was 2095. The driver's behavior as the cause of accidents constitutes the most frequently mentioned theme in the "talk-backs", more than the themes regarding the condition of the vehicle or the road infrastructure. The driver's behavior theme was further divided into sub-categories such as driving skills, traffic rule violations, aggressive driving and uncivilized behavior. Lay people were also able to suggest prevention strategies, such as policy, enforcement, road infrastructure, and sanctioning. This information may assist policy-makers and safety experts in identifying the appropriate means of intervention, implementation and communication with the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-36
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science and the National Authority for Road Safety, Israel.


  • Driver behavior
  • Lay people
  • Qualitative study
  • Road accidents
  • Talk backs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Applied Psychology


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