Why higher speed fines may not work to make Irish roads safer

Research by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has raised concerns that higher fines for speeding and cell phone use may not work, as many drivers believed they were unlikely to be caught, while others were unconcerned about a possible doubling of fines.

In a study submitted to the Department of Transport, the RSA said there was a perception that “there is not enough [gardaí] Ireland’s Road Police.

This meant many drivers felt they were “unlikely to be arrested for traffic offences”.​

The research paper was presented to the department in August, a few months before the department announced that fines for 16 traffic safety offenses would be doubled from last October.

They said a major concern is that less than half – between 35 percent and 44 percent – of drivers said doubling fines would have a positive impact on their driving behavior.

More research is needed on how the severity of punishment, the speed of punishment and the likelihood of fear of crime would deter.

The RSA investigation also pointed to “perceptions of enforcement”, particularly in relation to the number of Gardaí patrolling the streets.

It states: “Enforcement is critical to the success of penalty increases because deterrence theory assumes that people will not change their behavior unless they believe they are likely to be discovered, and then receive a swift and severe punishment.” .”

The RSA investigation states that any increase in fines must be accompanied by significant publicity to make people aware of the changes.

The report added: “Campaigns that focus on the lived experiences of those who have been disqualified and highlight the unacceptability of traffic offenses can also prove to be an effective deterrent.”

It said Ireland’s traffic fines were “rather low” compared to other countries, but it was important that they remained “proportionate to the seriousness of the offence”.

They said increasing penalty points for certain offenses would have a major impact on driver behavior, particularly those who already have points on their licence.

The report added: “However, sufficient resources to process a potential initial spike in drivers being disqualified/vehicles being impounded would need to accompany such a policy.”

The RSA said “graded speeding penalties” could be considered, where the penalty is based on the degree of speeding or the type of road on which it occurred.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/why-increasing-speeding-fines-might-not-work-in-drive-to-make-irish-roads-safer-42261051.html Why higher speed fines may not work to make Irish roads safer

Fry Electronics Team

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