Enhanced traffic enforcement leads to less accidents, and vice-a-versa. These were the conclusions of a 2008 study written by Towson University Economics Professor Michael Makowsky and George Mason University professor Thomas Stratmann.
The professors studied Massachusetts traffic data to prove that heavy traffic enforcement results in safer roadways. Surprisingly, it is one of the few such studies. Between 2001 and 2003, Massachusetts Police Officers wrote 619,104 traffic tickets including 38 percent for speeding, 13 percent for seat belt violations, and 12 percent for disobeying stop signs. Using a complex formula, the study found that for each increase of 100 tickets issued there were 12% less accidents. The study also found safety is more dependent on traffic law enforcement than on the actual laws themselves. That is, less accidents were occur by heavy enforcement than by lowering the speed limit.
From a traffic law perspective, this study justifies random police check points, and heavy enforcement. However, more importantly, it does not support the notion that raising traffic ticket fines or making the traffic laws is the best way to make roads safer. Yet I am sure you won’t hear any politicians referring to this conclusion when they decide for the ump-teenth time to raise fines, surcharges or create new traffic fees.