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Chicago Policy

CDOT’s Vision Zero Program and U. of C. Quiz Motorists on Their Driving Habits

Photo: Steven Vance

Knowledge is power, and the Chicago Department of Transportation hopes that learning more about driver behavior and attitude will help the city reach its Vision Zero goal of eliminating serious and fatal crashes. CDOT is working with grad students from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy to collect data via an online survey. The info, which will be kept confidential, will help the department design programs to prevent collisions.

The questionnaire asks motorists where, when, and how they commute, and how often they need to drive to time-sensitive destinations. It inquires about when they got their license, and how long they've been driving in the city.

From there the questions start getting personal: "How often do you feel the people in front of you are driving too slowly?" and "How often do you feel the people driving behind you are pushing you to drive faster than you prefer?"

After that, things get really personal, although participants are assured that the info won't be shared outside of the study. Motorists are asked how often they speed, and why. The quiz inquires about which distracting behavior drivers have engaged in behind the wheel recently, including texting, eating, attending to children in the car, or (gulp!) watching videos. Participants are asked how often they run stop signs and speed up for yellow lights. And the questionnaire asks about their alcohol and recreational drug habits, whether they've ever been charged with a DUI, and how many drinks they believe they can consume and still be safe to drive.

Some of those topics may be uncomfortable to discuss, but the data could eventually help save lives. Just answering some of the more probing questions could encourage motorists to rethink their habits, which alone could make the survey a worthwhile endeavor.

Take the quiz at this website.

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