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Study: Drivers less likely to speed when rewarded for safe habits

What will it take to encourage motorists on our Fayetteville roads to drive safely and abide by speed limits?

According to one group of researchers, drivers are less likely to speed if they know that there is a reward for abiding by the law. But since drivers aren't going to receive a prize anytime soon for driving without speeding, maybe motorists will think twice about the consequences of their actions when they realize just how dangerous and deadly speeding really is. According to government data, speeding is a contributing factor in thousands of fatal car accidents each year. In fact, about 12,000 Americans die each year in accidents caused by speeding.

Government officials and traffic safety advocates have attempted for years to find effective ways to reduce crashes caused by speeding. Some states use signs that can detect a car's speed and flashes the speed to the driver of vehicle. This is meant to remind the driver to pay attention to speed limits and to slow down.

Many states have even installed hidden cameras to catch speeders. The theory behind using these cameras is that drivers will be less inclined to speed if they don't know whether or not they are being watched and could get a ticket.

But according to a new study, some type of an incentive program that rewards drivers for abiding by speed limits may be more effective compared to past efforts to reduce speeding. For the study, which was partly funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers promised drivers that they would receive $25 every week if they did not speed.

To record test subjects' speeds each week, researchers used a device similar to a GPS device. Whenever a driver would exceed the speed limit by five to eight mph, 3 cents would be deducted from the driver's $25 prize. When a driver would exceed the speed limit by nine or more mph, 6 cents would be deducted from the driver's prize.

According to researchers, test subjects were less inclined to speed knowing that they would get a prize for safe driving habits and that their decisions to speed would cost them. Hopefully, more drivers in North Carolina will choose not to speed simply knowing that they could reduce their risk of causing a serious or fatal accident.

Source: NPR, "GPS Study Shows Drivers Will Slow Down, At A Cost," June 21, 2012

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Study: Drivers less likely to speed when rewarded for safe habits | Britton Law, P.A.