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Accid Anal Prev. 2006 Mar;38(2):371-8. Epub 2005 Nov 23.

Speeding drivers' attitudes and perceptions of speed cameras in rural England.

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  • 1School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1LT, UK.

Abstract

There is evidence that excessive speed leads to an increased frequency and severity of road traffic accidents, but it is not clear how speeds may be reduced. To increase understanding of why drivers exceed the speed limits, the views of a sample of road users who had been prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit in the rural county of Norfolk England were sought. Respondents were categorised into a four group driver typology comprising conformers (those who report they never exceed limits) deterred drivers (those put off speeding by the presence of cameras), manipulators (those who slow only at camera locations) and defiers (those who exceed limits regardless of cameras), and the consistency of opinions was compared between the groups. Speeding was perceived as widespread and normal, and many drivers resented camera enforcement. Indeed, some respondents considered that cameras in themselves caused dangerous driving. For many drivers, the prosecution experience resulted in distress, anger and anti-camera sentiments, predominantly because they expressed the belief that they were more skilled than other drivers. It was also apparent that many respondents displayed a lack of awareness of the link between speed and collisions. Conformers were the least likely to state that the prosecution had deterred them from further speeding behaviour, possibly because they perceived themselves as already law-abiding. The deterred drivers were most likely to express intentions to avoid further speeding and their speeding incident was found to be most likely to be accidental. Manipulators and defiers tended to report that they had deliberately chosen to infringe the speed limits. Manipulators often acknowledged that their style of driving was dangerous; however, they failed to link this to their own behaviour. It was evident that many defiers and manipulators did not perceive speeding as a serious traffic law violation. Possible implications for road safety initiatives are discussed and recommendations are given for specifically targeting different driver types.

PMID:
16309618
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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