Seems like common sense: crackdown on speeding and roads become safer. However, as per a recent study, harsher speeding enforcements seem to do the opposite, making driving far more dangerous on the roads.
A recent study coming out of Australia, from the University of Western, recently revealed that impacts around stricter speeding policies and how they affect a driver’s visual and mental abilities. The researchers used a driving simulator in their study, where individuals were instructed that they would be penalized if they drove one, six, or 11 kilometers per hour over the said speed limit. Along with specific instructions, the team reviewed how quick these drivers responded when a red spot appeared on the screen in front of them.
The results were mind-blowing.
Those individuals placed in the strictest of speeding enforcements had the most difficult time spotting the red dot that lay outside of their immediate site line. The drivers also rated this as the more demanding of tasks while driving.
MSN reported that Dr. Vanessa Bowden, head researcher of the study chimed in on the results stating the team came to the conclusion that the participants visual and mental resources were being used up when it came to monitoring speed limits and the need to pay extra attention to their speedometer; which essentially took time and focus away from the ‘world around them’ while driving.
The team’s next step when it comes to drivers and their response rates? Testing on how well they do when it comes to strictly enforced speed limits along with road hazards. Dr. Bowden note that she believes the study already shows a clear indication of the downside when it comes to strict speeding policies. She goes on to state that one cannot necessarily make drivers pay extra attention to speeding (and go slower) without the repercussion of taking attention from other important elements of driving.
Still, while the research was conducted in Australia, the findings are surely relatable to other countries around the world, including the United States of America. The country has seen a large increase in deaths related to driving, and all the arrows are pointing towards distracted driving as the culprit. Whether it is texting and driving, or paying extra attention to what your speedometer readings are, taking away attention from the road (and potential hazards along the way), is never a good thing when it comes to driving.