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Journal Article


de Waard D, Rooijers T. Accid. Anal. Prev. 1994; 26(6): 751-765.


Traffic Research Centre, University of Groningen, Haren, The Netherlands.


(Copyright © 1994, Elsevier Publishing)






Two field experiments were conducted to establish the most effective method of enforcement in reducing driving speed and to establish the most efficient strategy in terms of police force personnel required. In the first experiment, the effect of three variables on driving speed on motorways was studied. The first variable, intensity of enforcement, was manipulated by creating three different objective levels of apprehension for detected speeding drivers. The second variable was method of enforcement. On-view stopping and ticketing of offenders was compared to mailing of fines on the basis of the car's licence plate number. The third variable manipulated was the time delay in the mailing of fines. Time delay between detection of the offence and feedback to the driver was shortened in one condition. In a second experiment, police enforcement effort was optimized by relating intensity level of enforcement to the proportion of speeding vehicles. In the first experiment, police enforcement was applied for four weeks; in the second experiment, enforcement activities were continued for 12 consecutive weeks. In both cases the main dependent variable was driving speed. Before, during, and after the application of enforcement, speed was registered using induction loops. In addition, driver opinion about speeding and speed enforcement was studied using postal questionnaire surveys. The results show the largest and longest lasting reduction in driving speed in the highest intensity level-condition, giving support for a relation between objective chance of apprehension and speed choice. On-view stopping of offenders was shown to be a more effective method to reduce driving speed than mailing of fines. Some of these results are discussed in the light of game theory. The questionnaire surveys indicated that most drivers did not notice the recurrence in enforcement activities due to infrequent passing of the sections of motorways studied. The preventive effect of police enforcement appeared to be far more substantial than its repressive effect. Enforcement primarily deters the current nonoffender from speeding.


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