Have you ever wondered why, despite the fact that everyone knows how dangerous and deadly it is, 75% of drivers text and drive? Or drink and drive, or drive like they’re auditioning for a Fast and Furious movie? Me too. I’m Marisa Auguste and I am the Behavior Analyst for the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center at the University of Connecticut. My primary focus is conducting research of motor vehicle crashes and determining how driver behavior influences them. The purpose of this blog is to promote self-awareness and reflection in driving situations, as well as, to explore the latest developments and innovative behavioral research to deter unsafe driving behaviors. As I continue my research, I will be sharing with you the underlying traffic psychology behind what causes certain behavioral actions and emotional reactions when behind the wheel. If we can understand why people do what they do, we have the power to change our behavior and make our roads a safer place.
Marisa E. Auguste received her Masters of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Victimology and a certification in Victim Advocacy and Service Management from The University of New Haven. She also obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology from The University of Texas at San Antonio. In 2015, she joined The University of Connecticut’s Safety Research Center as the Behavior Analyst, conducting research of motor vehicle crash data relative to driver behavior. A large part of her work to aid in reducing crash fatalities and injuries involves the development of behavioral modification methods based on the latest general deterrence and social-norming strategies.
She is an active member of Connecticut’s Statewide Impaired Driving and Seatbelt Task Forces, as well as the CT DOT’s Traffic Records Coordinating Committee. Her work has received the attention of major news outlets, including NPR, WTNH News 8, CBS Talk Radio (WTIC- Hartford), the Hartford Business Journal, and more. Her research interests include distracted driving, impaired driving, existing and emerging automotive technologies, technology addiction, sensation seeking personality traits, demographic and social factors related to traffic psychology, and behavior modification.
Current research projects: intelligent vehicle technology, pedestrian-vehicle collisions involving distraction, and the cognitive, social and physical capabilities of mature drivers.