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.
Michelle Brandt | SUMC
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