Statement of purpose The Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) identified a need for evaluation of their Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) at both the state and county level. Using death and injury data was not feasible due to small numbers in some counties. The purpose of this study was to design an evaluation of the SHSP using short-term outcomes of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs or behaviours among drivers; and to present the evaluation plan and preliminary outcomes to the MHSO and state, county, and local traffic safety practitioners.
Methods/Approach Based on the SHSP, a logic model for evaluating traffic safety programs was developed. The Maryland Annual Driving Survey was developed based on the SHSP, the logic model, and behavioural theory. The survey was conducted in-person, through web-based portals or through social media. Data risk behaviours were collected from April to December 2014 from 6000 people and were analysed to create descriptive data at state and county levels.
Results The most common risky behaviours reported were not using a crosswalk as a pedestrian, (79%), using a cellphone while driving (41%), and not using a seatbelt in the back seat (40%). Younger drivers, 21–35 years were most likely to report using a cellphone (48%–53%) and texting while driving, and drinking and driving (27%-29%) while those aged 15–17 were least likely to always use restraints (18%).
Conclusions Program managers in Maryland have started using the survey data to realign project efforts, target preventive media messages for risky behaviours, prioritise projects to fund, and evaluate and inform legislation.
Significance and contribution to the field Motor vehicle crashes in Maryland are a leading cause of death with 505 fatalities and 30,234 injuries in 2012. Data from the Maryland HSO can help identify needs and priorities and enable the Highway Safety Plan to focus on high risk populations and address programs and policies most likely to reduce traffic injuries.
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