Traffic Enforcement Linked to Positive Traffic Safety Outcomes
Contributing Author: NDAA’s National Traffic Law Center Staff
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently drew a correlation between the nationwide increase in traffic fatalities in 2020 and 2021, and the reduction in enforcement of traffic laws during the corresponding years. “Over the past two years, traffic enforcement has declined in many parts of the country while traffic deaths surged,” said GHSA’s Executive Director, Jonathan Adkins. GHSA’s comments came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the results of its research, Synthesis of Studies That Relate Amount of Enforcement to Magnitude of Safety Outcomes.
That research reviewed 80 studies pertaining to five driving behaviors: One behavior linked to saving lives; occupant protection (seatbelt use), and four linked to causing death on our roadways; distracted driving, alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, and aggressive driving. Researchers looked at both the effect and the magnitude of the effect various strategies had on those behaviors. The research “concluded . . . enforcement campaigns were effective at reducing prohibited behavior.” Furthermore, “[a] positive and statistically significant relationship was found between seat belt use and both the number of checkpoints and, under certain conditions, the amount of media spending during occupant protection enforcement campaigns.”
NDAA’s National Traffic Law Center (NTLC) tracks information such as this, to further its efforts toward reducing death and injury on our nation’s roads. The NTLC is dedicated to improving the quality of justice in traffic safety adjudications by increasing the awareness of highway safety issues through the compilation, creation, and dissemination of legal and technical information and by providing training and reference services. For more information, contact GHSA, NHTSA, and NDAA.