The number of road accidents has been declining steadily since the early 70ís. The many measures taken since then have demonstrated that road accidents need not be fatal, and that it is possible to control their frequency and seriousness.
Accident specialists generally identify three types of factors which cause road accidents: infrastructure, vehicle and human. Significant efforts have been made over the past thirty years as far as infrastructures (e.g. safety barriers, roundabouts, etc.) and vehicles (e.g. airbag, dynamic brake control, etc.) are concerned. However, actions against road insecurity have failed to take human behaviour sufficiently into consideration. Yet road accidents are, above all, a human-behaviour issue. In fact, the human factor is present in nearly 95% of all road accidents. Driving a vehicle consists of sharing a public space with all road users: each is entitled to a section of the road, the borders of which are impossible to define as they are mobile. There is a risk of accident each time these spaces overlap and the behaviour of the road users fails to adapt to the situation.
Adopting safety-minded road behaviour is partly a question of learning how to understand Manís psycho-physiological limits and the social interaction norms between the users of this common space. This implies cognitive, perceptive, social and affective skills.
Psychology in general, and more specifically social psychology and traffic psychology, are all essential to this issue. Their object is to study, understand and act upon behaviours and capabilities related to vehicle driving.