Oh Lordy, somebody has actually carried out research into rigidly enforced speed limits making drivers worse

Regular readers will recall Whaleoil’s stance against police trying to reduce the road toll through targeted speed limit campaigns. ?Empirical evidence showed that it had absolutely no positive effect.

Research now shows it is worse than that.

New research from The University of Western Australia has found strictly enforced speed limits could have a detrimental impact on road safety.


Researchers used a driving simulator to test whether lowering speed enforcement thresholds would impact on a driver?s mental and visual abilities. Eighty-four young adult participants drove under conditions where they could be fined for travelling one, six, or 11 km/h over a 50 km/h speed limit.

A peripheral detection task was used to measure drivers? mental and visual workload. They also filled out a questionnaire which asked how difficult or demanding they found the experience of driving under the different enforcement conditions.

Stricter speed limit enforcement led to drivers rating the experience as more demanding and had a significant negative impact on peripheral vision, or the ability to detect objects outside the driver?s immediate line of sight.

Many Whaleoil commenters had intuitively come to the same conclusion. ?And of course, the number of deaths on our roads inconveniently?increased during the lower tolerance periods. ?

In reality the effects of strictly enforced speed limits could be even greater than in the study, researchers say, with real-world drivers experiencing greater pressures to drive at or above the posted speed limit.

The study was supported by the Neurotrauma Research Program at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, and the researchers plan to continue this line of study to see whether drivers are actually poorer at responding to hazards under conditions where speed limits are strictly enforced.

We’ve said right from the beginning that it was an added source?of distraction and stress.

Good to see that common sense is backed by research for a change.

No more reduced speed tolerance periods.

Education. ?Awareness. ?Carrot instead of stick.


– Gizmodo