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 Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

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: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New switch decides between genome repair and death of cells

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

Nanotechnology for energy materials: Electrodes like leaf veins

27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

‘Missing link’ found in the development of bioelectronic medicines

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>