In the majority of European countries, the missions of public actors in road safety control do not deal exclusively with road safety. Also, competences of enforcement agencies, in particular regarding violations, are dispersed both between civil and military authorities, and also between national and local authorities.
So far, efforts to document the operation of traffic violation control systems and penalties have had little focus on strategies (explicit or implicit) applied by enforcement agencies and other actors in this field, and the way in which these strategies are organised to create (or not create) a system.
In addition to this approach in terms of sociology of organisations, the subject of research must also propose a first approach to these systems in terms of sociology of professions, by proposing a comparison of professional dynamics of these various bodies in four European countries.
The principal contribution of this research is the development of a methodology to analyse the role of road safety control/enforcement actors, based on a comparison of professional dynamics in several countries and on their evolution.
This methodology must thus be tested within the framework of the present research to validate its relevance in order to be able to extrapolate it in other national contexts.
It should also make it possible to develop arguments contributing to reinforcing the approach by the sociology of professions and organisations, to the production of knowledge on safety, in particular targeted to public authorities.
Work is mainly based on four descriptive monographs and on a cross analysis of collected information.
A series of semi-directive interviews will be carried out in each of the four countries concerned (France, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland). The interviewees are 'resource people' whose status can vary from one country to another but two approaches must be crossed:
- strategic interviews with human resources directors of various bodies at national level; and
- strategic interviews with personnel supervising these bodies at local level.
This qualitative approach will be supplemented by the collection of a series of quantitative indicators related to the traffic and accident characteristics of the four countries involved, and also (especially), data on manpower of the various bodies by staff grade.The competences applied are primarily sociological competences. The experience in terms of international comparison will be also be invaluable to conclude the whole of this work.