Distraction in road traffic: How Czech media covers the issue

Heliyon. 2023 Jul 7;9(7):e18103. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e18103. eCollection 2023 Jul.


Road users' inattention is one of the leading factors that contribute to crashes. It has been thoroughly researched from many perspectives, but there is limited information about the factors that influence risk perception and road users' attitudes. These factors are formed by personal and mediated experience, but education and public awareness play important roles. In this context, media seems to significantly influence risk perception and it may result in behavioural changes. This study aimed to review the coverage of driver inattention in the Czech media to analyse how it covers different types of inattention. Both quantitative and qualitative content analyses were conducted, and the sources of inattention mentioned in media reports were coded. We found the following: distraction is the most often reported inattention subtype; the media often communicates illegal behaviour, such as mobile phone handling; the preventive and educational potential of media coverage seems to not be fully utilized; and media reports are often focused on specific crashes, consequences, and immediate causes. Other risky aspects or inattention contributory factors tend to be neglected.

Keywords: Crash; Distraction; Inattention; Media; Traffic safety.