Monday, July 24, 2006

Do Safety Features Breed Unsafe Behaviour?

An order for a Bournemouth bar to switch to polycarbonate 'glasses' on safety grounds is being challenged by the owners. They want to retain glass in a move to attract a more sophisticated clientele. I can see their point although two recent glassings do rather suggest that the clock is ticking.

I've heard things of this ilk described as "The Volvo Effect"- that is the propensity of drivers of very safe cars to drive with less care and attention than they otherwise might. The sub conscious can tend to think that you're immune to the consequences of lane drift etc.

Talking to an architect and an interior designer recently, they were suggesting that barge boards designed to protect walls in public buildings can actually engender a 'culture of disregard'. Staff and visitors see the boards and actually bounce trolleys and such like off them and drag bags along them. The professionals argue that in many circumstances it is better to create a desirable building which people respect- unwittingly or not. Apparently, how people react is not affected by their level of education or background either- everyone respects interesting and arresting buildings.

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