Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Maurice Murphy


In 2004, the Irish government rolled out its new two year road safety strategy which aimed to reduce road deaths in the Republic of Ireland to no more than 300 road fatalities by 2006. The strategy failed to reach its target. There were 368 road fatalities on Irish roads in 2006. The effects of the penalty points system, which was introduced in 2003, is considered responsible for reducing Irish road fatality figures to their lowest level since 1964 (335 deaths). However the beneficial effects of the penalty points system have proved transitory and road deaths have risen in recent years. In 2000, the National Roads Authority estimated that 33.7% of road fatalities were represented by young people aged between 16-25 years (National Roads Authority, 2000). Furthermore, young driver accidents accounted for 26.1% of all injury accidents on Irish roads in 2000 despite these drivers representing only a small fraction of the Irish driving community. Young male drivers are grotesquely over represented in Irish road fatality figures. The car driver fatality rate was found to be approximately ten times higher for young male drivers than for female drivers (NRA, 2000). Between 2001 and 2002, fourteen per cent of fatal road accidents in Ireland occurred between midnight and 3 a.m. despite the fact that only approximately two per cent of the Irish road fleet are mobile during these hours (Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, 2005). Speed is the single largest contributing factor to road deaths in Ireland. Approximately forty per cent of fatal accidents are caused by excessive or inappropriate speed in Ireland. Young male drivers in particular demonstrate a high proclivity for risky driving behaviours. These risky behaviours include drink driving, speeding, drug driving and engaging in aggressive driving. This study will therefore focus on how dangerous driving behaviours may be addressed through social marketing. Social marketing refers to the application of basic marketing principles to design and implement programmes and information campaigns that advance social causes such as alcohol misuse, drug prevention, traffic safety, etc. Social fear appeals and more commonly physical fear appeals (those fear appeals incorporating threats of physical harm including injury and death) are used extensively in road safety communications. This study will analyse the appropriate level of fear that needs to be induced in order to change young male driving behaviour.

Access Level