Strict Speed Enforcement Increases Road Danger: Australian Study
It stands to reason that having a set speed limit for different areas should increase safety. However, a study coming out of Australia shows that strict enforcement increases danger on public roads. There are areas that could stand to relax police enforcement in favor of overall road and highway safety.
Testing Attention When Focused on Speed
In the study, drivers were put to the test heeding speed limits with penalties for certain marks over. These were set at one, six, and eleven kilometers over the posted speed limit. With those limitations in mind, different drivers were tested for reaction times versus focus on the task at hand. This was not tested at more than 11km/h so it does not promote street racing behaviors.
Those who were tasked with staying within a tight range of the limit had a hard time responding in time. The especially applied to their ability to use their peripheral vision and look outside a straight line of sight. While trying to focus on their speed so closely, their reaction times dipped well below those who were given more lenience.
This means that those who were going a little faster with their leeway were able to react faster. This was directly linked to their attention not being forced to their speedometer and allowing situational awareness. When trying to stay at an exact speed, drivers were missing other crucial information in the world around them.
While distracted driving is still a mounting problem, adding to that with strict enforcement does not help. People who are too focused on maintaining an exact speed while driving are more dangerous on the road.
Does this study bring new information to light or is it just reinforcing something we should consider common knowledge? We’d like to see discussion of the results in the comments section because law enforcement is always an interesting topic.
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