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to the victim, the experimenter replied, "Although the shocks can be extremely painful, they cause no permanent tissue damage." The results of this experiment are startling. All 40 subjects went past the "strong" and "very strong" readings and none broke off before reaching 300 volts. And 26 of the 40 reached the maximum level of 450 volts - the XXX category. Such behavior is clearly not sadism. Subjects are under considerable stress and show it by perspiring, stuttering, uncontrolled laughing, trembling, and other signs of extreme tension. Variations of the experiment indicate that the strength of the obligation is heavily influenced by the physical presence of the experimenter. In one segment, with 40 fresh subjects, the experimenter left after presenting the initial instructions. He gave subsequent orders over the telephone. Where 26 of 40 were fully obedient when the experimenter was present, only 9 of the 40 subjects followed orders completely when conveyed over the phone. In some cases, the subject lied to the experimenter, saying that he was increasing the shock level when he was using the lowest. If the experimenter appeared in person after the subject refused over the phone, he was sometimes able to reactivate compliance with the simple assertion, "The experiment requires that you continue." Milgrams experiments forcibly demonstrate the validity of Parameter "F" - intensity of group influence on individual behavior is a direct function of the degree of personal contact between group (in this case, the experimenter) and individual. In another variation, when the victim was brought into the same room with the subject, the number of obedient subjects dropped. The subjects' conflict became more intense when the experimenter looked at him, clearly expecting him to continue, while the victim visibly indicated his pain and his desire to participate no longer. This experimental result, in regard to an aggressive act upon an individual, may be considered an inverse correlary of Parameter "F." This correlary may be stated:

PARAMETER "G" -- The intensity of an aggressive action
toward another person is an inverse function of the
degree of personal contact between the agressor and
his victim.


Parameters have demonstrated various linkages between the group expectations and individual behavior. These parameters were derived from the recorded experiments in which individual ordinates of human behavior could be isolated and varied. The independent effect of each separate factor was determined. The carefully controlled nature of these experiments, by itself, supports the truth of the parameters. This confidence is further enhanced since many of the parameters have been verified by results of additional research of other investigators. These parameters are employed to compare the relative deterrent effects of the existing fault system and the proposed non-fault system. Before this evaluation is made, elements of the current fault system will be examined for any additional confirmation of the parameters.

Fault Concept Is Established Group Norm

An established method of determining group opinion is the time-honored attitude survey. The Harris Survey of December, 1966 determined the relative importance, in the public mind, of individual fault and vehicle defects. 68 The survey reported that by an overwhelming proportion of 96 percent, "the public is convinced that driver carelessness is a far more important cause of highway accidents than manufacturer's defects."

In 1968, the Minneapolis Tribune conducted a survey dealing with the proposed no-fault system of auto insurance. One of the questions considered accident causation and individual driver fault: "In highway accidents, do you think there is usually one person who is mainly to blame for the accident or are there many accidents in which no one person is more to blame than anyone else?" Sixty-nine percent said one driver is usually more at fault, while 26 percent indicated a feeling that there are many times when no one party is particularly to blame; 5 percent did not reveal an opinion. Therefore, a group norm has been established which holds that driver fault is a primary cause of automobile accidents.

Generic Model Description And Confirmation

As explained, the purpose of a system model is to evaluate the effects of a new system before it is actuated. We have established model elements by determining the seven detailed parameters of behavior. The detailed structure of this complex model will be set forth in the final portion of this report. However, it is now useful to have an abbreviated model description:

Accident deterrence is a direct function of the degree to which the community abhorrence of the causing of an accident is focused on the individual negligent driver.

This description of the model is a generic parameter which sets forth the structures of the detailed parameters. Following are the five parameters encompassed in the generic model statement (using the previous alphabetical designations):

B. An individual's behavior is influenced by group


The intensity of the influence on individual behavior
is a direct function of the number of contacts between
the individual and the group.

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In Kaestner's experiment in Oregon problem drivers were randomly assigned to one of four treatments. 70 The first group was used as a control and no further contact was made with its members. A standard form letter was sent to those in the second group. The third group received a letter with the same wording as the form letter except that it was personalized by individual typing and signature. The fourth group received a personalized "soft-sell" letter. The following table presents the subsequent findings:

Avoidable Accidents
Moving Violations
No Entries

(No letter)






Soft-Sell (Personal)

1.29% 22.84% 75.86%

Kaestner's results lie squarely within the four corners of the generic model. There is a direct correlation between the reduction in accidents and degree to which the abhorrence of the causing of an accident is concentrated on the individual negligent driver.

In a well designed study, Kaestner and Syring worked with driver improvement analysts to devise a carefully structured and motivationally oriented interview built around the individual driver's own prior record." It was applied to drivers with mild infractions, not to those with serious or repeated charges. Drivers were randomly assigned to either the interview or the control group. Significantly, more of those interviewed than those in the control group drove a full year without a traffic entry. Those interviewed also went longer before subsequent violations were observed. In the control group of 660 drivers, there was a subsequent total of 66 avoidable accidents. There were only 50 accidents among the 660 drivers who were individually interviewed. These results again confim the generic model.

A restricted but significant experiment was conducted by Cooper. 72 Among 30 violators, ten each were randomly assigned to receive a simple warning, to attend a standard safety school, or to participate in an experimental group run by the author, who allowed wide-ranging discussion and interjected only when he thought he heard a "rationalization." There was no time limit. The six weekly sessions lasted from half an hour to over three hours. In the year following , members of the experimental group had only half as many violations as those of the other two groups. Of 23 reported accidents in the subsequent five years, only one involved an experimental group member. This again confirms the validity of the generic model.

An experiment in the reduction of serious highway accidents involving servicemen at the Lackland Air Force Base again illustrates the validity of singling out and pointing the finger at negligent drivers.73 Military authorities were troubled by the large number of personal injury accidents involving servicemen who drove privately owned automobiles near their stations. Excessive drinking was a contributing factor in approximately two-thirds of these accidents. After considering and rejecting alternative countermeasures such as advance screening and counseling of drivers, a prevention program was designed that applied two administratively imposed sanctions-- a driver involved in a personal injury accident was called in for a review of his service record and for a psychiatric examination. An accompanying educational effort tried to portray driving after drinking as disturbed or "sick" behavior. The effects were studied by comparing accident rates before and after the program. Personal injury accidents involving the affected group declined over 50 percent in the year after the introduction of the program. Before concluding that this effect had been caused by the prevention program, Professors Barmack and Payne examined and rejected plausible rival hypotheses such as other influences operating in the same direction or a general decline in servicemen's accidents. In fact, during the period, accidents continued to rise in the general community and at other military bases.

Fault System Operating Mechanisms

It has been shown that there is a group norm existing which holds that driver fault is the primary cause of automobile accidents. It is important to examine the workings of the existing insurance system to see how this norm has permeated the mores of the community. It is imperative to examine the various mechanisms by which the finger of causative responsibility is pointed at the negligent driver. Take the case of a collision accident in which there is no injury. As stated, ten out of every eleven accidents are in this category. It is at this stage, before he has done any serious harm, that the community abhorrence of the causing of an accident is concentrated on the individual negligent driver:


The drivers must exchange information as to operator's
license and vehicle ownership. There is usually a dis-

cussion as to who caused the accident. Sometimes this conversation is heated and bitter words are exchanged. In most instances, neither driver will admit causative responsibility, Almost invariably the errant driver will maintain that, "It was the other fellow's fault." This falsehood must be asserted in the face of the true circumstances of which both drivers are usually well aware. This causes considerable mental strain for the majority of drivers who are not hardened and coldly calculating liars.


If a policeman arrives, there is still more conversation. The negligent driver may continue his falsehood - this time to an officer of the law.


Each driver must complete his motor vehicle report, describing briefly the events leading to the accident. Few are willing to admit a violation of the rules of the road. The guilty driver, therefore, must fabricate when he describes his version in this written report.

The negligent driver must continue this falsehood in greater detail, when he presents his statement to his insurance company representative. Even with collision insurance, as Keeton and O'Connell point out, the collision insurer is concerned with fault. 14 After paying damage to the insured vehicle (less any applicable deductible), the insurance company will, if the circumstances warrant, submit a claim against the other driver's insurance company.

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5. A bad driving record will trigger a series of painful remin

ders for the negligent driver. Keeton and O'Connell point
out that it becomes more difficult and expensive for a
driver with a bad record to purchase liability insurance. 75
Each time the negligent driver pays his increased insurance
premium, he is reminded anew of his transgressions. In the
case of an accident, an appreciable injury to the negligent
driver should serve as a severe reminder of fault. But
suppose the negligent driver is not injured? What if the
injury occurs to the other involved party? This invariably
happens when there is an accident between a truck and a
sedan because of the superior structural strength and greater
mass of the heavy commercial vehicle. I have seen this happen
many times in accidents I have analyzed which have occurred
between sedans and heavy commercial vehicles. I do not re-
call a single case where there was a death or serious injury
of an occupant of a heavy commercial vehicle as a result of
an original impact with a passenger car. 76


In a case of an injury or death, there is an intensive

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