Traffic safety among immigrants in Sweden

Utlandsföddas trafiksäkerhet

Swedish traffic accident statistics have previously shown that involvement in accidents differs for people born in Sweden and people born abroad. The main aim of this report is to further illuminate this area through the use of four different studies. The introductory study is a literature review examining ethnicity and different aspects of traffic safety, focussing primarily on speed, accidents, use of seatbelts, alcohol and vulnerable road users. The term ethnicity was defined in different ways in the literature, if it was defined at all, and the term ethnic minorities was used as a collective term. The ways those terms are used complicate comparisons. Nevertheless, certain conclusions could be drawn. For example, the traffic behaviour of immigrants bore the imprint of the traffic norms prevalent in the country in which they grew up. Cultural values, the importance of language and socio-economical factors are dimensions of interest with regard to measures that can improve the traffic safety of immigrants living in Sweden. The second study identified the risk of a traffic accident for people who are born abroad but registered residents of Sweden. The results show that if the population is divided into nine zones, based on the country of birth, there are groups both with a higher risk of accidents than the Swedish-born and groups with a lower risk. Thus, immigrants should not be viewed as a homogeneous group. Furthermore, large parts of the differences can be explained by exposure, education, age and gender, through the use of logistical regression. In the third study a survey based on an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict the intention to speed, use seatbelt and use child restraints. The results show that previous behaviour and the perception of how others behave in traffic were the variables that best explained the intent to break speed regulations. This survey also indicates differences between groups, where the intent to use the seatbelt and protect children in the car was lower amongst some of the immigrants, while the intent to respect the speed limit was lower among the Swedish-born. The results of the survey could thus not unequivocally explain why certain groups identified by the accident analysis ran greater risks. In the fourth study interviews were carried out with seven men born in Iran but residing in Sweden. The subjects discussed were driving, speeding, alcohol and seatbelt use. The results showed that they experienced cultural differences in attitudes and behaviour in traffic, but that these differences gradually faded away. They showed zero tolerance when it came to drinking and driving. However, when it came to speeding and the use of seatbelts this was seen as unacceptable only in some contexts. Based on the compiled results recommendations are given, detailing specific actions that may increase the level of traffic safety among immigrants living in Sweden.


  • Swedish

Media Info

  • Pagination: 168 s, 1,92 MB
  • Serial:
    • VTI Rapport
    • Issue Number: 640
    • Publisher: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
    • ISSN: 0347-6030

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01140539
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Sep 23 2009 7:39AM