Road safety

Cover of Driver Attitudes to Speed Enforcement
Driver Attitudes to Speed Enforcement
  • Publication no: AP-R433-13
  • ISBN: 978-1-921991-88-2
  • Published: 23 April 2013

The research undertaken for this project comprised: an audit of existing speed enforcement strategies in all Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions; a review of research into attitudes towards speeding and speed enforcement in Australian and New Zealand; focus group discussions with drivers in Australia and New Zealand to explore their attitudes towards speeding and speed enforcement, knowledge about speed enforcement, and self-reported behaviours; and a survey of 3,152 drivers in Australia and New Zealand to quantify their attitudes towards speeding and speed enforcement, knowledge about speed enforcement, and self-reported behaviours.

The study found that it is common for drivers to think that other drivers who drive faster than they do are a safety threat, but they mostly see their own driving as being under control and therefore ‘safe enough’. In discussion groups, drivers indicated that the fear of being caught was usually the most salient negative consequence of speeding, and was therefore the most prominent consideration in choosing driving speed. Drivers who said that they at least sometimes drove above the speed limit tended to report that, in the absence of a clear and immediate threat of being caught, they drove at a speed that ‘felt safe’.

Research participants generally accepted that speed enforcement was an important tool in helping keep drivers to the speed limit, and thereby keeping our roads safer. But despite the generally high level of support for an increase or maintenance of at least some speed enforcement techniques, drivers in discussion groups more readily associated enforcement with raising revenue and with a bureaucratic insistence on compliance rather than with safety. Overall, enforcement by police was widely supported by drivers and claimed to be more effective than automatic enforcement. The effectiveness of covert enforcement was generally not well understood and it received lower levels of approval than overt techniques.

More survey respondents reported that they were deterred by the threat of immediate licence suspension than by a fine or demerit points. Almost all discussion group participants were interested in knowing what revenue raised through speeding fines was spent on, and thought that transparency around this issue may make them more accepting of fines.

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
    • 1.1. Background
      • 1.1.1. The role of speeding in road crashes and fatalities
      • 1.1.2. The social acceptability of speeding
      • 1.1.3. The need for research
    • 1.2. Research objectives
  • 2. METHOD
    • 2.1. Literature Review
      • 2.1.1. Review questions
      • 2.1.2. Stakeholder consultations
      • 2.1.3. Included literature
      • 2.1.4. Criteria for inclusion
      • 2.1.5. Search methods
      • 2.1.6. Literature collection and analysis
    • 2.2. Qualitative Research
      • 2.2.1. Objectives
      • 2.2.2. Method
      • 2.2.3. Sample structure
      • 2.2.4. Conduct of the qualitative research
    • 2.3. Quantitative Research
      • 2.3.1. Objectives
      • 2.3.2. Quantitative methodology
      • 2.3.3. Data analysis
      • 2.3.4. Sample characteristics
  • 3. FINDINGS – AUDIT OF SPEED ENFORCEMENT IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
    • 3.1. Synthesis and discussion of findings from audit
      • 3.1.1. Recent changes in speed enforcement strategy
      • 3.1.2. Urban versus rural speed enforcement
      • 3.1.3. Levels of speed enforcement
      • 3.1.4. Overt versus covert enforcement
      • 3.1.5. Penalties and formal cautions
      • 3.1.6. Penalty thresholds/tolerance
      • 3.1.7. Hypothecation of revenue back to road safety
      • 3.1.8. Community awareness of speeding and speed enforcement practices
    • 3.2. Enforcement strategies
    • 3.3. Penalties
  • 4. FINDINGS – ATTITUDES TO AND BELIEFS ABOUT SPEED ENFORCEMENT
    • 4.1. Objectives
    • 4.2. Included studies
    • 4.3. Methodological quality of included studies
    • 4.4. Synthesis and discussion of findings
      • 4.4.1. General attitudes towards speed enforcement
      • 4.4.2. Attitudes towards different forms of enforcement
      • 4.4.3. Automated speed enforcement
      • 4.4.4. Attitudes to and beliefs about overt and covert automated speed enforcement
      • 4.4.5. Attitudes towards penalties
      • 4.4.6. Perceived legitimacy of speed limits and enforcement
      • 4.4.7. Perceived likelihood of being caught speeding
      • 4.4.8. Attitudes towards and perceptions of tolerance of driving above speed limits
      • 4.4.9. Influences of enforcement on speeding behaviour
      • 4.4.10. Gaps in the research conducted to date
    • 4.5. Summaries of reviewed publications
      • 4.5.1. Literature reviews
      • 4.5.2. Primary studies
  • 5. FINDINGS – QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
    • 5.1. The social acceptability of speeding
      • 5.1.1. Summary
      • 5.1.2. Findings
    • 5.2. Key influences on driving speed
      • 5.2.1. Summary
      • 5.2.2. Findings
    • 5.3. General attitudes to speed enforcement
      • 5.3.1. Summary
      • 5.3.2. Findings
    • 5.4. Awareness and understanding of, and preference for, specific speed enforcement strategies
      • 5.4.1. Summary
      • 5.4.2. Findings
    • 5.5. Perceptions of and attitudes toward tolerances
      • 5.5.1. Summary
      • 5.5.2. Findings
    • 5.6. Perceptions of and attitudes toward speeding penalties
      • 5.6.1. Summary
      • 5.6.2. Findings
    • 5.7. Views on the appropriateness of government spend on road safety and how revenue from speeding fines should be spent
      • 5.7.1. Summary
      • 5.7.2. Findings
  • 6. FINDINGS – QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
    • 6.1. Speeding patterns
      • 6.1.1. Summary
      • 6.1.2. Frequency of speeding
      • 6.1.3. Differences between demographic groups in self-reported frequency of speeding
      • 6.1.4. Differences between Behavioural groups in self-reported frequency of speeding
      • 6.1.5. Exceeding the speed limit in a school zone
      • 6.1.6. Exceeding the speed limit in a 60km/h zone
      • 6.1.7. Exceeding the speed limit in a 100km/h zone
    • 6.2. Drivers’ beliefs about the involvement of speeding in crashes and their ability to drive safely while speeding
      • 6.2.1. Summary
      • 6.2.2. Perception of speeding among factors contributing to crashes
      • 6.2.3. Perception of involvement of speeding in crashes and ability to drive safely while speeding
    • 6.3. Approval and perceived effectiveness of speed enforcement
      • 6.3.1. Summary
      • 6.3.2. Approval of overall level of speed enforcement
      • 6.3.3. Approval of various speed enforcement techniques
      • 6.3.4. Perceived effectiveness of various speed enforcement techniques at dangerous locations
      • 6.3.5. Perceived effectiveness of various speed enforcement techniques across the road network
    • 6.4. Impact of speed enforcement on driving behaviour
      • 6.4.1. Summary
      • 6.4.2. Perceived likelihood of being detected
      • 6.4.3. Impact of perceived risk of penalties on driving behaviour
      • 6.4.4. Reported impact of enforcement techniques on driving behaviour
    • 6.5. The social acceptability of speeding
      • 6.5.1. The social acceptability of speeding
    • 6.6. Perceived use of speeding fine revenue
      • 6.6.1. Summary
      • 6.6.2. Perceived hypothecation of speeding fine revenue to road safety
      • 6.6.3. Perceived intention behind speeding fines
    • 6.7. Speed limits and enforcement tolerances
      • 6.7.1. Summary
      • 6.7.2. Perceived appropriateness of limits
      • 6.7.3. Perceived appropriateness of variability of speed limits
      • 6.7.4. Self-reported awareness of speed limits
      • 6.7.5. Perceived penalty thresholds
      • 6.7.6. Preferred penalty threshold
    • 6.8. Penalties for speeding
      • 6.8.1. Summary
      • 6.8.2. Impact of penalties on speeding behaviour
      • 6.8.3. Perceived appropriateness of penalties
    • 6.9. Attitudinal segmentation
      • 6.9.1. Creation of the segments
      • 6.9.2. Attitudinal segments