Effects of roadside memorials on drivers’ risk perception and eye movements (Registered Report, Stage 1)

Registered Report, Stage 1:

Road crashes are a leading cause of death worldwide. In many countries, it is common to see spontaneous roadside memorials constructed in response to road fatalities. These memorials are controversial and are explicitly banned in many jurisdictions. Advocates argue that the presence of memorials improves safety, by making other drivers aware of an especially dangerous road where others have died, whereas opponents argue that they are distracting and decrease safety by diverting drivers' attention away from the road. However, almost no previous research has examined the effects of roadside memorials on road user behavior and safety.

In this study, 40 drivers will view videos of road scenes with and without memorials, to examine how the presence of roadside memorials in a driving scene influences drivers’ attentional allocation (as indicated by eye movements towards the roadside area), and their safety-related behaviors (as indicated by their ratings of how risky the road is and their preferred travel speed for the road).