Paying motorists not to break the speed limit works pretty well, a recent NHTSA study has revealed.
According to the study, speeding was nearly eradicated among a group of drivers who were offered $25 per week if they didn't break the speed limit. The report highlighted dramatic reductions in speeding when coupled with cash incentive.
Ian Reagan, a traffic researcher for NHTSA, said that drivers appeared to discontinue speeding because of the incitement of being paid, with a prize for good driving combined with mild financial penalties for violating the traffic rules.
“We found that the incentive system was incredibly effective in getting drivers to reduce their speeding,” the Age quoted him as telling news website npr.org.
“Egregious speed limit violations were almost eliminated - that’s driving nine or more miles per hour over the speed limit,” he said.
The study placed a GPS tracking unit in eight vehicles it loaned to 50 different drivers for a week. A control group of ten drove the cars as they did every day and their speed was monitored, with another twenty drivers were warned every time they exceeded the speed limit.
The final twenty drivers were also warned when they exceeded the speed limit but additionally told that they would be rewarded with $25 at the end of the week if they didn’t exceed the speed limit.
They lost three cents for travelling between 3-8 miles per hour (5-13km/h) over the limit and six cents for infringements above that level, according to NPR. Any speeding tickets they accrued stood as an additional penalty.
Each time the driver completed a trip, they were given a report showing any penalties they had against them. Reagan said that despite the small reward on offer and miniscule penalties, there was a mindset among some drivers in the study to “beat the game”.
“At least one driver said they made a game out of it,” Regan said. “They wanted to see if they could keep that incentive amount of 25 dollars,” he added.