Regulating traffic safety by Martin Friedland, Kent Roach, Michael Trebilcock

By Martin Friedland, Kent Roach, Michael Trebilcock

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99 These studies would lead one to view prosecutions with some caution as a technique of control. However, sanctions cannot be too quickly dismissed as a control technique. The very existence of a law, as we will see in the discussion of seat-belts, will have a positive effect on compliance, and, as in the case of drinking and driving, the raising of potential penalties may affect attitudes toward the conduct in question. Moreover, some enforcement will further increase levels of compliance by raising the perception of the chance of being caught.

196 The federal government put continuing pressure on the 42 Driver-Centred Counter-measures states to enforce the law by requiring a stated degree of compliance. In 1986 the rule was that 50 per cent of traffic had to be at 55 mph or lower or else some highway funds would be withheld. 200 A driver travelling on any major road in Ontario at precisely the speed limit would find that he or she was being passed by most other drivers. 202 Statistics from Quebec show that 85 per cent of vehicles travelling on one major autoroute in 1986 were travelling at 115 km/h or lower in a 100-km/h zone.

Mary Chipman studied the relationship between demerit points - following convictions for Ontario Highway Traffic Act offences - and accidents. 236 This could well be true for speeding convictions. Those who travel more are more likely to get speeding citations; yet they may be less liable to have accidents than those who travel less when their increased exposure is taken into account. Moreover, the person who drives for a living and who may not be a serious risk on the road may tend to go faster than others.

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