More information about text formats
There is a plausible case that television affects the individual road-user's attitudes to safety-related issues, so McGwin et al  provide a
useful survey of television content regarding the portrayal of seatbelt
and helmet use. Whether McGwin et al should make such strong assertions
about the value of these devices raises arguments which have been aired
Such surveys could be...
Such surveys could be extended to other issues. Speed could be an
excellent example, but is difficult to assess with any accuracy from TV
material. Another issue is driver distraction, which may be more amenable
to observation. Driver distraction is depicted commonly in filmed fiction:
an example at random is Stephen Daldry's movie "The Hours", in which a
driver and her passenger partake in intense dialogue, leading to steadily
more erratic and dangerous driving.
However, the issue of distraction extends beyond the requirements of
a film's plotline: monologues and interviews while driving have become
quite a common custom in factual broadcasting. A recent BBC example
concerned historical battle sites. The presenter was filmed making an in-depth commentary while driving through locations associated with the
battle. The camera provided a side view of the presenter within the
vehicle, but views of the locations were meagre. Worryingly, but not
surprizingly, the presenter's gaze frequently shifted from the road to the
camera. One must conclude that the commentary would have been just as
effective if it had been recorded in a studio - and safety would not have
The issue of how far TV should convey accepted safety norms raises a
number of issues; three examples: (a) Should depiction of safe behaviour
necessarily override the plotline requirements of a piece of fiction?
(b) Would the fantastical road scenarios portrayed in the likes of James
Bond movies and Homer Simpson cartoons really influence viewers' attitudes
to safety? (c) Can the above-cited scene from "The Hours" in fact act as a
warning leading to better driving behaviour?
What can surely be accepted is that gratuitous broadcasting customs
can be curtailed with no loss to anyone; if there is a small gain in
safety-relative attitudes, then that is all to the good.
1. McGwin G, Modjarrad K, Reiland A, Tanner S, Rue LW. Prevalence of
transportation safety measures portrayed in primetime US television
programs and commercials. Inj Prev 2006;12:400-3.
2.Reinhardt-Rutland A H. Seat-belts and behavioural adaptation: the
loss of looming as a negative reinforcer. Safety Sci 2001;39:145-55.