Home Sports How do Italians drive cars? Many without seat belts and not using arrows

How do Italians drive cars? Many without seat belts and not using arrows

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Over 50 million vehicles circulate in Italy, but what is the level of safety on the road? A study made for Anas tells a lot. Such as, for example, that in almost half of the vehicles children do not travel in their safety devices. An overview of the topic and the role played by the perception of risk

Andrea Tartaglia


Road safety as a yardstick for assessing the behavior of road users, highlighting the illegal and dangerous ones to understand how and where to act. According to Istat, 118,298 accidents occurred on the Italian road network in 2020, which cost 2,395 deaths and 159,249 injuries, with a general decline that marks 31.3% fewer claims than in 2019 and a reduction in victims and of people who had to seek medical treatment by 24.5 and 34 percent respectively. It should be noted that last year was a year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic and characterized by lockdown which have drastically reduced the circulation of vehicles, therefore the data must be read with extreme caution, requiring an analysis that goes beyond analyzing the behavior of drivers in the field. This is done by a study carried out for Anas by Righetti and Monte Ingegneri and Architetti Associati with the contribution of the Psychological Research Unit of Traffic at the University of the Sacred Heart of Milan. The survey was conducted by observing and recording user behavior on three important types of roads managed by Anas: the Grande Raccordo Anulare of Rome A90 (highway, type A), State Road 336 of Malpensa Airport (main suburban, type B) and the SS 700 of the Royal Palace of Caserta (secondary suburban, type C). In particular, the improper use of mobile phones, the use of seat belts, that of child restraint systems, the switching on of lights and the use of arrows when overtaking and during entry or exit were analyzed. the exit from the road arteries.

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The use of the telephone behind the wheel is not among the most widespread infringements, out of every hundred motorists observed 12.41% did not respect the ban, an average figure in line with that of the Gra but higher than that of the SS336 (9.6 %) while on the SS700 the average is higher (17.9%). This is an infringement observed in 18.1% by users between the ages of 18 and 40, in 11.4% of those in the 40-60 age group and in 5.6% of those over 60. In Europe, the percentages of mobile phone use while driving vary from 1% to 11% in several countries with greater use by young drivers. In front of the phone behind the wheel, women and men behave very similarly: 12.7% of men and 11.6% of women use it. Almost one in three motorists do not turn on their headlights when and where required: 27.4% of motorists, to be exact. Here the geographical differences are considerable: on the ring road of the capital 18.7% are forgotten, on the state road for Malpensa 8% while on that for the Royal Palace of Caserta as much as 68.1%.


Everyone knows that seat belts can save lives or avoid serious consequences in the event of an accident, but there are still too many who forget to fasten them, a behavior that becomes almost customary for passengers sitting in the rear seats. On average, 28.3% of drivers travel without a seatbelt, a practice that thanks to the type of work that is widespread among those who drive vans, a category in which 47.7% accounts for. Women are more cautious, with 16.5% of infringements compared to 32.1% of men. Significantly worse data due to the non-use of the seat belt by the passenger sitting at the front with 31.8% as an average figure, with peaks of 66.9% found on commercial vehicles. The real short circuit occurs for the rear seat belts not used by 80% of the cases detected, a figure that reaches all passengers in vans and minibuses.

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Almost half of children travel without being insured with child restraint systems, which vary according to age and are essential protection in the event of an accident. A behavior detected on average in 49.4% of monitored vehicles, more common in vehicles driven by women (53%) than by men (45%). Profound differences also on the geographical level: in 31.8% of cases on Gra, in 52.9% on the state road to Malpensa and in 88% of cases on the state road to the Royal Palace of Caserta.


Another behavior put under the magnifying glass of the study for Anas is the use of direction indicators. 55.6% of users do not use it when overtaking, a percentage that grows to 76.5% when returning from overtaking, while 59.2 and 43.7 percent of drivers forget it respectively when entering and exiting the ramp . It should be noted that on this front, those who drive a commercial vehicle are more loyal with 38.5 and 65% of omissions in the start-up and return phase from the overtaking maneuver against 63.3 and 81.2 % of motorists. Curiously, all categories of drivers at all latitudes report leaving the ramp much more frequently than entering.


The report also focuses on the psychological aspects that lead many drivers to underestimate or overlook the obligations prescribed by the Highway Code. Among the behaviors at the origin of road accidents, deliberate violations of the code are distinguished from driver errors (e.g. oversights, maneuvers or incorrect assessments) because they are not caused by a problem in collecting or processing the information necessary to implement the correct behavior, but by a choice influenced by psychological, psychosocial and motivational factors. Socio-demographic factors (gender and age), personality factors (tolerance of deviance, impulsivity), emotional and cognitive factors (automatisms, understanding of the norm, perception of risk, perception of control, cost-benefit balance of behavior). Institutional factors such as social norms and models (behavior of others and expectations, road safety culture), law enforcement controls and communication that informs and persuades also have an impact. The interaction between the driver and the vehicle also plays a role (based on the different types and characteristics of the vehicle being driven and those between the driver and the environment (based on the different characteristics of the road infrastructure). An example above all about the perception of risk and its influence on the application of the rules concerns the use of seat belts, more common for driver (72%) and passenger (68%) while subsequently the percentage is reduced to 20%. Data still far from the European average: ( 90% front seat belts, 71% rear seat belts), which suggest a different perception of the behavior of fastening the seat belt if you are in the front or rear position on the car.

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