Automobility and injury inequality : road safety for a diverse society
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Most knowledge of road accidents patterns derives from datasets. Heightened risk of involvement in road accidents can be shown to be associated with, inter alia, membership of minority ethnic groups and poverty. In addition, males are involved in a greater number of road accidents than are females. Very little work has been done to explain why these patterns should occur or why some places are linked to a greater risk of road accidents for specific groups of road users. This thesis adopts qualitative methodologies to examine reasons for the apparent over-representation in road accidents of Black teenage male pedestrians living in London, an exercise that not only suggests why Black teenagers should be over-represented in datasets but identifies factors that may explain the dynamics behind many accidents in road space. The thesis focuses on the nature of road space as social space, and a road accident as a unique event that is brought into being through an interaction between users as they meet, each user importing his or her own expectations, feelings and interpretations to the experience. Data are used to argue that no one road user independently ‘causes’ a road accident and the thesis concludes that an apparently higher rate of road accidents involving Black teenagers is a function of the constructed social space of the road. Rather than anything intrinsic to the individual, the circumstances of a road accident involving a Black teenage pedestrian can reveal many tensions that underpin society. The final chapter proposes a variety of ways of tackling road accidents, concluding that to be effective, road safety programmes should be developed for diverse societies or communities, rather than discrete groups within communities.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic copy restricted until 15th April 2016
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations