Enforcement reduces rate of road deaths

12.00 | 4 July 2017 | | 2 comments

While traffic-law enforcement reduces the frequency of fatal road collisions, ‘inconsistent enforcement’ may be contributing to thousands of deaths each year worldwide.

That’s the top line finding from a summary of peer-reviewed research prepared by Dr Adrian Davis, a visiting professor at the University of West England.

Dr Davis publishes a series of single page ‘essential evidence’ summaries in order to help disseminate academic research to road safety practitioners.

In his latest summary, titled ‘traffic-law enforcement and its relationship with risk of death from crashes’, Dr Davis says: “An individual’s motor vehicle driver’s crash risk depends on how that person drives and how other road users behave.

“For example, red light violations are a major cause of traffic crashes at signalised intersections. Rigorous testing of the effectiveness of traffic enforcement for preventing deaths might contribute to better decisions. 

“Some prior research has suggested that strong evidence exists to support a severity effect, that is, an increase in the statutory severity of sentence maxima for traffic violations leads to a decrease in crash and injury rates—approximately an average 0.5% reduction in monthly crash and injury rates.

“Researchers explored this issue with a large cohort of drivers in Canada by identifying drivers in fatal crashes between 1988 and 1999 in Ontario.

“More than 10 million people were studied for longer than a decade. Conviction of drivers for traffic offences reduced the rate of fatal crashes. Each conviction led to a 35% decrease in the relative risk of death over the next month for drivers and other road users; conversely, each conviction not issued led to a corresponding increase in risk.

“The findings also imply that increasing the frequency of traffic enforcement might further reduce total deaths, and that emphasis of moderate penalties (around three points) is useful as a deterrent to traffic violations.”



Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    “Some prior research has suggested that strong evidence exists to support….” As soon as I read phrases like that in a report, I tend not to read any further.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This study/report tells us what we already know intuitively and through experience. “An individual’s motor vehicle driver’s crash risk depends on how that person drives and how other road users behave”.

    Back in our teenage years there were some amongst us in our group who we knew had no road sense despite passing the test and having a full licence. They never seemed to learn from their mistakes. Fortunately, we did. Some of us had crashes, friends who had crashes, near misses and we quickly learned the concept of defensive riding (motorbikes) the hard way and reduced our exposure to risk. …And of course when the police were around.

    The challenge today is passing that experience on so others who are receptive to training can learn without going through the ‘hard way’ themselves.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.