Factors and frames that shape public discourse around road user safety

Through this proposed research-to-practice project, a UNC team comprised of HSRC researchers and Media and Journalism school scholars seeks to coordinate with local law enforcement, journalists, as well as professionals in public health, planning and engineering, to advance more humane public health framing surrounding traffic injury. And in this way, the team looks to catalyze helpful professional and collective response to this persistent health crisis. Goals of this project include: (1) Helping to re-frame media portrayals of serious and fatal traffic crashes as isolated incidents involving wholly responsible road users toward ones that incorporate public health and Safe Systems principles, such as the contextual (e.g., temporal, historical, equity-related, physical) and preventable nature of severe crash outcomes. (2) Designing a theory- and evidence-based resource—in the form of a brief, illustrative guide that helps professionals who shape public discourse around traffic crashes (e.g., new media traffic reporters, public information officers, planners, public health professionals, and engineers) advance a Safe Systems narrative of humanizing crash victims and contextualizing crash injury. (3) Using socio-metric questionnaires to identify socially influential professionals in media, law enforcement, engineering, planning, and public health.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $86,813
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27514
  • Project Managers:

    Sandt, Laura

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

    730 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard CB # 3430
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27599-3430
  • Principal Investigators:

    LaJeunesse, Seth

    Austin, Lucinda

  • Start Date: 20190515
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210930
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01715890
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747113
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Sep 3 2019 2:50PM