Lowering thresholds for speed limit enforcement impairs peripheral object detection and increases driver subjective workload

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Speed enforcement reduces incidences of speeding, thus reducing traffic accidents. Accordingly, it has been argued that stricter speed enforcement thresholds could further improve road safety. Effective speed monitoring however requires driver attention and effort, and human information-processing capacity is limited. Emphasizing speed monitoring may therefore reduce resource availability for other aspects of safe vehicle operation. We investigated whether lowering enforcement thresholds in a simulator setting would introduce further competition for limited cognitive and visual resources. Eighty-four young adult participants drove under conditions where they could be fined for travelling 1, 6, or 11 km/h over a 50 km/h speed-limit. Stricter speed enforcement led to greater subjective workload and significant decrements in peripheral object detection. These data indicate that the benefits of reduced speeding with stricter enforcement may be at least partially offset by greater mental demands on drivers, reducing their responses to safety-critical stimuli on the road. It is likely these results under-estimate the impact of stricter speed enforcement on real-world drivers who experience significantly greater pressures to drive at or above the speed limit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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