Guggenheim, Noga, and Orit Taubman-Ben-Ari. “Ultraorthodox Young Drivers in Israel – Driving through Cultural Lenses.” Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 33 (2015): 87-96.
Research has paid little attention to driving and road safety in the ultraorthodox communities in Israel, in which perceptions on such issues display unique cultural characteristics, and may have long-term effects on traffic safety. This study attempts to gain insight into the attitudes and behaviors of the ultraorthodox young men road users in Israel with regard to driving and road safety, using a qualitative research method based on 42 face-to-face in-depth interviews with men from different ultraorthodox circles in different stages of life. The analysis reveals that the stringent cultural norms strongly influence road behavior, far beyond what is known about young novice drivers and their peers in general. For example, owning a license by young, single ultraorthodox students is seen as an offense against the ultraorthodox establishment compared to driving without a license, which is considered a one-time lapse. The findings indicate that unique cultural phenomena such as concealing the process of licensing, unlicensed driving and road interactions create a dangerous effect extending beyond the ultraorthodox neighborhoods. They also imply that road safety can be interpreted differently in diverse cultures, a fact which should be considered while planning safety intervention strategies.
This study seeks to gain insight into a unique group, ultraorthodox women in Israel, and their views and attitudes on driving and road experiences. Ultraorthodox women are generally contending with spatial and mobility restrictions due to stringent gendered spaces and social norms in their communities. Specifically in Israel, throughout the ultraorthodox sector, women are strictly forbidden to drive. In this research, we put the emphasis on driving dilemmas that have received marginal attention both socially and empirically. A qualitative method was used, based on face-to-face in-depth interviews, with women from three major ultraorthodox communities. The findings reveal that the driving ban for ultraorthodox women in Israel generates ambivalence and conflict, and exacts a heavy social price. Moreover, in line with approaches of feminist geography, it raises issues of gender relations and cultural implications, such as restricting the space and the mobility of women in order to keep them in a subordinate position. The results are discussed in terms of gender roles, cultural exclusion, and spatiality, on both the practical and emotional levels. The study opens a window to a unique sector of the Israeli population, revealing unique dilemmas with which ultraorthodox women grapple daily in their community.