Parents know that sometimes the chance for reward is a more powerful child obedience method than the threat of penalty. "Clean your room or your grounded" can be less effective than, "Clean your room and we'll go get ice cream."

A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that when the stick is combined with the carrot, drivers behave much better. The study placed GPS trackers to measure speed in eight cars loaned to 50 different drivers for a week each. The drivers were told that, at the end of their week, if they kept their speed within the posted limits, they would be paid $25 each. Every time a driver went over the speed limit by five to eight mph, he would lose three cents. If the driver's speed exceeded nine or more ticks above the posted limit, he lost six cents.

If the drivers were caught speeding by the cops they got speeding tickets as usual.

Each time the car's ignition was switched off, drivers got a report showing how much their lead feet had reduced their rewards.

The results were promising, with one driver saying he had made a game out of trying to keep his $25. NHTSA officials involved in the study say insurance companies might be very interested in implementing the program for their customers.

"We found that the incentive system was incredibly effective in getting drivers to reduce their speeding," Ian Reagan, a traffic safety researcher at NHTSA tells NPR. "Egregious speed limit violations were almost eliminated – that's driving nine or more [miles per hour] over the speed limit."


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  • 80 Comments
      Kuro Houou
      • 2 Years Ago
      Speeding isn't the issue, it's poor driver training. It's been proven over and over people will travel the speed they feel comfortable at. Plus the states love speeders hence the very low highway speeds around metropolitan areas. It's tax revenue for the state, simple as that.
      Ken Adams
      • 2 Years Ago
      Problem is, cops don't pull people over to keep people safe. They pull them over to make revenue.
        JF
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ken Adams
        Please substantiate your claim with evidence.
          Emurselovic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          Yes and sometimes correlation = causation.
          KaiserWilhelm
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          You must have a birthday of June 20th 2012
          JF
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          No hurt feeling, I'm not a police officer nor do I know one personally. I just like to see people state their sources when making serious claims, such as the one above. black08mustanggt, you say: "the gov't above them encourages them to do it to make money" Again, where can we look up the info to test this fact? Seems like there are a lot of popular opinions (which are simply fallacies to justify speeding in this case) and no sound arguments backed up with good sources. The link above was quite poor by the way; drawing conclusions according to the number of search engine queries per region is laughable.
          black08mustanggt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          I'm sorry he hurt you're little cop feelings. But he did phrase it poorly. Cops may pull you over thinking they are keeping you safe, the gov't above them encourages them to do it to make money,
          Emurselovic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          A study by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis found that traffic ticket writing increases when government revenue decreases. http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/more/2006-048/ Direct correlation.
          Sean Conrad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          Correlation != causation
          Niko
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JF
          JF, I agree it would help and could possibly change my perception of what "I think" is happening with facts. But unless the government will release these stats, I will think that they our out to generate revenue. The government needs to disclose these figures. We pay for their salaries so why isn't this information provided? It isn't like this is a national security issue.
        JF
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ken Adams
        Meaningful contribution, Emurselovic, thanks.
      FreeThinker
      • 2 Years Ago
      The real issue isn't speed, it's lack of driving skill. There just isn't enough emphasis on driving skill in the US. We want everything to be idiot-proof. Why? Lawyers.
      Dan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why do we care about speed again? Why don't they make one of these for using blinkers, tailgating, keeping right except to pass, or merging the freeway at proper speed, you know, something that actually matters.
      jbm0866
      • 2 Years Ago
      Keep your $25 and I'll give you an additional $25 to NOT have some tracking device hooked up to my car..
      ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Besides, the Germans have demonstrated that speed does not kill, bad drivers kill. Everyone cruising along at 80mph passing on the left, using blinkers, using safe following distances, etc is not dangerous. But the total chaos that is American highways with multiple unsignaled lane changes and passing on both sides and squeezing in between cars to get around left lane moving roadblocks IS dangerous and causes accidents.
      graphikzking
      • 2 Years Ago
      I currently pay $1300 per year for 3 cars. So if they paid me $25 per week - then it would result in the following: A ZERO $$ insurance bill - or they would up my rate accordingly. Don't like this idea! OR I drive the speed limit (10mph lower than I normally drive) - 20 mile ride to work and 20 miles home. That's 40 miles at 10mph less = 15minutes more driving per day x 5 days = 1.25 hours. So if you make over $18 an hour - then you're better off hurrying to work and making more money there. Plus if everyone drove the speed limit there would be SO Many traffic jams. Some of these streets just have completely insane 35mph speed limits when they are basically highways with no homes and no businesses along them.
      CK
      • 2 Years Ago
      For this to work you have to assume that the goal of speeding/traffic tickets is safety and not revenue. I'll concede that theres no argument for not giving tickets to people driving 90mph or whatever, but look at traffic cameras. Municipalities write contracts requiring certain revenues from intersections...which studies show have increased rear end collisions.
      Don Alley
      • 2 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, the way it would be implemented would be to TAKE our money then force us to try to earn it back.
      ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      If the government wants to pass around a hat and make donations with THEIR money for this, by all means, its YOUR money so spend it as you please. But stay away from my wallet as I'm not going to pay people to obey the law nor ever authorize an invasion of privacy as extreme as GPS tracking of citizens.
      Kwijiboz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here in Australia speeding fine revenue is used in state budget figures. That is, they're banking on it being a reliable source of cash to pay for specific government (non motorist related) programs, while claiming they want everyone to slow down purely in the name of safety. I'm sure we all knew our various authorities make use of the revenue, but when it's used in official forecasts like this it does make their crying for everyone to slow down ring pretty hollow.
      Al W
      • 2 Years Ago
      New rule if you're well below speed limit ,you lose money too.
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