Selected results of the empirical analyses

Traffic offences certainly can be considered as a mass phenomenon. With very few exceptions (e.g. seat belt usage), however, valid general statistical information on the incidence of violations of traffic rules does not exist.

Data on traffic violations leading to accidents, of course, are available as accident causes are registered by police.

The most frequent accident causes (ca. 90 % of all evaluated items) attributed to car drivers are:

  • unadapted speed

  • violations of priority/precedence rules
  • violations of rules referring to turning, U-turn, entering the flow of traffic

  • Violations of alcohol limit

  • Violations of safe distance

  • Violations of speed limits

VZR data indicate that the vast majority of sanctions (irrespective of accident causation or involvement) result from exceeding the speed limit (77 %). Another 11 % of sanctions stem from failure to observe traffic lights and other priority/precedence rules. As can be seen, the distribution by type of traffic offence is completely different for accident causes as compared to sanctions. This is due to the fact that intensity of police surveillance differs significantly between the various types of offences (surveillance of speeding is by far the most wide-spread type of traffic monitoring).

Using appropriate cost rates, aggregate traffic accident costs can be attributed to the different types of violations. Total accident costs (casualties and material damage) attributed to a given type of traffic violation increase with incidence of violation as well as with mean number of casualties and mean material damage per accident. Analysis shows that total traffic accident costs generated by car drivers are concentrated on a few accident causes:

  • unadapted speed or exceeding speed limits

  • violations of priority/precedence rules

  • violations of rules referring to turning, U-turn, entering the flow of traffic

  • driving under the influence of alcohol

Obviously, from a public health point of view every endeavour should be made to reduce the four above mentioned particularly costly types of traffic violations.