The results of a new study indicate that speeding – the number one killer on American roads – can be discouraged using the right combination of financial incentives and penalties. The experiment found that the most effective way to discourage speeding and reduce speeding-related violations was not just rewarding good driving behavior, but also punishing poor driving.
The researchers in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-funded experiment studied the driving practices of motorists who had GPS devices installed in their cars. The motorists were told that they could earn prize money of $25 per week if they stayed at the posted speed limits. The researchers informed these motorists that the GPS device would track their speed against the posted speed limit, and if they went 5 to 8 mph above the speed limit, they would lose $.03 from the prize money. The penalties were increased to $.06 from the prize money if the speed went up to 9 mph and above over the speed limit.
Another group of motorists was also tracked in this manner, but this group was not given either financial incentives or penalties.
It shouldn’t be so surprising to any Indiana car accident lawyer that the combination of financial incentives and penalties proved to be effective in helping reduce speeding. In fact, the researchers were astounded at the effectiveness of this strategy in reducing speeding. No person in the study was penalized for driving 9 mph and more above the speed limit.
The researchers believe that it was the combination of the cash prize and the penalty for violating speeding laws, which was so effective here. In other words, the cash prize on its own would not have been as effective in reducing speeding.
Some of the motorists who took part in the study confirmed this. They said that the main incentive for them was not only to get their hands on the $25 at the end of the week, but also to make sure that they got their hands on the full $25, and not a cent less.
The researchers believe that one day a system like this might be used by insurance companies in order to help encourage motorists to stay at safe speeds. In order to increase safe driving behaviors, insurance companies could dangle a carrot that involves lower insurance premiums to motorists who stay within speed limits. Motorists who break speeding laws may be penalized with an increase in their insurance premiums.
It’s too early to tell whether a strategy like this could really be implemented in the real world, and whether insurance companies would even be interested in using techniques like this to crack down on speeding. However, the study has brought again to the forefront the risks associated with speeding.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy are dedicated to the representation of persons who have been injured in car accidents across Indiana.