What will it take to get drivers to stop speeding? Transportation officials have been asking themselves this question for years. As it turns out, it takes a little money.
In a study funded partially by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers were given a GPS device that was placed in their car. It would track how fast they were going compared to the speed limit, and would offer a $25 cash prize at the end of each week for driving safely. Researchers hoped the incentive would slow the drivers down and reduce the number of car accidents in Portland, Oregon and need for portland, or personal injury attorneys.
The incentive appears to have paid off. Researchers found that speeding violations were reduced all around, including egregious violations, or when motorists drive more than 9 mph above the speed limit.
Money is clearly a motivation, but so is penalty. Tests subjects lost 3 cents from their prize every time they went 5 to 8 mph above the speed limit. That penalty doubled every time they drove over 9 mph over the limit.
The researchers think making a game out of it motivated some drivers to limit their speeding. There have also been numerous studies over the last several decades that suggest people tend to monitor losses that are slow and accumulating — known to some as the “ticking meter” phenomenon.
Whatever the reason, the study shows that such devices indeed work to limit speeding. And while it may not be practical or realistic to have them in every vehicle, some insurance companies may in the future offer them to drivers who may want to lower their premiums.