Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stanford researcher links life-saving benefits to traffic

30.06.2003


Police should hand out more traffic tickets. While Robert Tibshirani, PhD, won’t win any popularity contests with that sentiment, the Stanford School of Medicine researcher and his colleagues at the University of Toronto report in a paper being published in the June 28 issue of The Lancet that vigilant traffic law enforcement may reduce fatal car crashes.

The team examined the records of drivers in Ontario, Canada, and found that receiving a traffic ticket reduces a driver’s risk of dying in a crash by 35 percent in the weeks following the citation. "You don’t think the police are doing a public service when they issue tickets, but traffic enforcement has a huge public-health benefit," said Tibshirani, professor of health research and policy at Stanford and study co-author. "It may be a nuisance to receive a ticket but it could be helpful."

One million people die and 25 million people are permanently disabled from traffic crashes worldwide each year, the researchers report in their study. While limited evidence previously has pointed to traffic enforcement reducing fatalities, the researchers’ aim in this study was to learn whether receiving a ticket has a protective effect on the driver.



"Getting a ticket stays on your mind," said Tibshirani when explaining why traffic enforcement could influence the way people drive. "If you know you deserved the ticket it may remind you to slow down."

The researchers studied public records of 8,975 drivers who had been involved in fatal crashes in Ontario between 1988 and 1998. They found the drivers had 21,501 total tickets for moving violations prior to the date of the crash, averaging about one ticket per driver every five years.

The researchers found that 135 drivers had a traffic ticket in the month before the crash and 204 had a conviction in the same month one year before. Their analysis indicated that the risk of a fatal crash in the month following a conviction was nearly 35 percent lower than in a month with no conviction. The benefit existed for drivers regardless of age, prior convictions and other personal details. The highest life-saving benefits were for drivers who had received convictions that carried a $100 fine and three penalty points against their driver’s license (the penalty for exceeding the speed limit by 20 kilometers per hour or about 12 mph). This protective effect lasted for one to two months and was insignificant after four months.

Tibshirani was surprised by the findings. "I didn’t expect to find anything," he said. "Although a speeding ticket makes me drive more carefully, I thought the protective quality would be too small to detect."

The researchers said their data also suggest that one life is saved for every 80,000 tickets issued; one emergency department visit is prevented for every 1,300 tickets; and $1,000 in societal cost is saved for every 13 tickets. Because traffic laws in Canada and the United States are similar, Tibshirani said the findings should apply in both countries.

Based on the data, Tibshirani and his co-authors said increasing traffic enforcement measures might further reduce total deaths; conversely, inconsistent traffic enforcement could contribute to thousands of deaths each year. They said their findings could help determine the allocation of scarce police resources toward traffic safety efforts and could also inform debates on the use of new enforcement technologies such as cameras that snap pictures of red-light runners.

The researchers acknowledged that the exploration of additional traffic enforcement may not be welcomed by the public, however. "The major impediment to general traffic enforcement is a lack of public support," the researchers note in the paper. "Unlike vaccination or other preventive care, individuals are not gracious at the prospect of a conviction and often resist with subterfuge or argument."

Tibshirani said public-health measures are often unpopular, but he hopes this issue will be viewed differently. "It would be nice if this study had an impact on public perception and people recognized that traffic enforcement can save a lot of lives."

The study was led by Donald Redelmeier, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Leonard Evans, with Science Serving Society, a Michigan-based think-tank, also collaborated on the study. The study was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, a Career Scientist grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and the de Souza Chair in Trauma Research at the University of Toronto.



Michelle Brandt | SUMC
Further information:
http://mednews.stanford.edu/news_releases_html/2003/junerelease/Traffic.htm

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>