Association between increase in fixed penalties and road safety outcomes: A meta-analysis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAccident Analysis and Prevention. 2016, 92 (July), 202-210. 10.1016/j.aap.2016.03.028
Studies that have evaluated the association between increases in traffic fine amounts (fixed penalties) and changes in compliance with road traffic law or the number of accidents are synthesised by means of meta-analysis. The studies were few and different in many respects. Nine studies were included in the meta-analysis of changes in compliance. Four studies were included in the meta-analysis of changes in accidents. Increasing traffic fines was found to be associated with small changes in the rate of violations. The changes were non-linear. For increases up to about 100%, violations were reduced. For larger increases, no reduction in violations was found. A small reduction in fatal accidents was associated with increased fixed penalties, varying between studies from less than 1–12%. The main pattern of changes in violations was similar in the fixed-effects and random-effects models of meta-analysis, meta-regression and when simple (non-weighted) mean values were computed. The main findings are thus robust, although most of the primary studies did not control very well for potentially confounding factors. Summary estimates of changes in violations or accidents should be treated as provisional and do not necessarily reflect causal relationships.