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.
Guggenheim, Noga and Orit Taubman – Ben-Ari. “Women as a Key to Enhancing Road Safety in Ultraorthodox Communities in Israel.” Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 30 (2015): 22-29.
The ultraorthodox sector in Israel, while an integral part of society, has unique cultural characteristics along with limited media exposure. Both these features impact the perceptions of driving and road safety, as well as the ability to influence them. In view of the scarcity of research literature on these issues, the present study sought to gain further insight into the community in an attempt to find a creative way to leverage road safety among ultraorthodox road users in Israel.
Using the phenomenological qualitative method, 60 face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with women and men of different ages and backgrounds from the major ultraorthodox communities. Findings reveal that for the ultraorthodox, driving is a controversial subject that represents much more than its normative practical function in modern Western societies. It is subject to sociocultural restrictions that are reflected, inter alia, in limited public discourse on road safety. Moreover, the findings highlight the prominent educational role of women in this sector: they are exclusively responsible for raising young children, and are the sole educators of girls of all ages. In addition, as people tend to marry young, and men do not generally drive before marriage, women can influence the safety habits of their spouse as well as their children. The authors suggest building on this potential to increase awareness of road safety by empowering ultraorthodox women to serve as agents of social change in their family and community.
Objective: Previous studies in several countries have shown that the economically disadvantaged seem to have a greater risk of being involved in a car crash. The aim of the present study was to compare rates and trends in mortality and injury from road crashes by age among the Arab and Jewish populations in Israel.
Methods: Data on road crashes with casualties (2003–2011) from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics were analyzed. Age-adjusted road crash injury rates and mortality rates for 2003 to 2011 were calculated and time trends for each age group and population group are presented. Time trend significance was evaluated by linear regression models.
Results: Arabs in Israel are at increased risk of injury and mortality from road crashes compared to Jews. Road crash injury rates have significantly decreased in both populations over the last decade, although the rates have been persistently higher among Arabs. Road crash mortality rates have also decreased significantly in the Jewish population but not in the Arab population. This implies an increase in the disparity in mortality between Jews and Arabs. The most prominent differences in road crash injury and mortality rates between Arabs and Jews can be observed in young adults and young children.
Conclusions: The reduction in road crashes in the last decade is a positive achievement. However, the reductions are not equal among Arabs and Jews in Israel. Therefore, an increase in the disparities in mortality from road crashes is apparent. Public health efforts need to focus specifically on decreasing road crashes in the Arab community.
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.