The Deterrent Effect of Enforcement in Road Safety
WILKINSON D, The Scottish Office, and HOPE S, System Three, UK
The Scottish Office and other bodies charged with promoting road safety have, for many years, been concerned with both raising awareness of road safety issues and actively enforcing the law as it relates to driving offences. Little is known, however, abou
The Scottish Office and other bodies charged with promoting road safety have, for many years, been concerned with both raising awareness of road safety issues and actively enforcing the law as it relates to driving offences. Little is known, however, about the relationship between these two activities i.e. the extent to which the existence and operation of penalties for driving offences directly influence driving behaviour, and hence safety on the roads.
In 1996 The Scottish Office, as part of its ongoing programme of road safety research, commissioned System Three Scotland to investigate the deterrent effect of enforcement, particularly in comparison with other influences on individual driver's behaviour. The research was published in June 1997.
The specific objectives of the research were
* to ascertain drivers' awareness of the existing traffic laws and the extent to which this knowledge influences their driving behavio~r;
* to ascertain what deters drivers from infringing traffic laws, whether fear of being caught and penalised, concern with being involved in an accident, awareness of the consequences of their actions or some other external influence;
* to estimate the impact of enforcement measures on the driving behaviour of the two separate groups of offenders and non-offenders, and whether this changes according to the existence of penalty points on their driving licence;
* to test whether enforcement has a different deterrent effect on different types of driving offence (speeding, drtmk driving, careless/dangerous driving).
Association for European Transport