Research Papers

New Zealand drivers’ perceptions of the costs and benefits of speeding: Comparison to Canadian data

Filename 7B-Rudin-Brown_FP_New-Zealand-Drivers-Perceptions-of-the-Costs-and-Benefits-of-Speeding-Comparison-to-Canadian-Data.pdf
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Date added June 17, 2014
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Category 2014 CMRSC XXIV Vancouver
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 7B
Author/Auteur Deborah McLeod, Tim Rowland, Christina M. Rudin-Brown, Thomas Smahel, Andreas Rose
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation

7B Rudin-Brown_New Zealand Drivers’ Perceptions of the Costs and Benefits of Speeding


Inappropriate speed and speeding are serious road safety concerns worldwide. Although the
percentage of ‘free-running’1 New Zealand drivers travelling above the speed limit has dropped
over the last decade, speeding remains one of the most common contributors to accident
involvement, with the total social cost estimated at $675 million NZD ($580 million CAD).
Previous research has found that some drivers underestimate the safety risk and fuel costs of
speeding. Many drivers tend to overestimate the amount of time that will be saved if they adopt
faster speeds. Interestingly, compared to drivers who realistically estimate the consequences of
speed, drivers who misjudge the time savings from increasing vehicle speed are more likely to
engage in speeding themselves.
Speeding that results because drivers believe that the benefits of speeding outweigh any costs
and risks is the focus of this research. Driver education programs that target this type of
speeding by communicating realistic information on the risks and benefits of speeding may
decrease this kind of intentional speeding behaviour.
The present survey study investigated 850 New Zealand drivers’ perceptions and understanding
of the costs and benefits of speeding, and compared the results to similar Canadian survey
data, in order to analyze and contrast similarities and differences with a view to making practical
and realistic recommendations regarding appropriate educational opportunities. Although the
two study samples shared a broad understanding of perceived advantages and disadvantages
of speeding, there were some differences that could be used to target more effective
educational and speeding countermeasures. For instance, New Zealand drivers were more
likely than Canadians to view penalties like speeding tickets as a main disadvantage of
speeding, and so speeding countermeasures that focus on penalties may have more influence
in New Zealand compared to Canada. On the other hand, improved enforcement of speed limits
in Canada through – for example – the use of automated speed cameras might influence
1 Free running speeds are those of either vehicles travelling alone, or those at the front of cohorts of
vehicles. Other vehicles within the cohort are not measured, as it is not certain what the driver’s preferred
speed would be.
Canadian drivers to view the risk of penalties as a more likely negative consequence of
Finally, cluster analysis revealed that driver speeding “types” identified in the New Zealand data
are comparable to those identified in Canada. These clusters could be used to fine-tune
educational opportunities to a given region or population, especially in instances where the
demographics or characteristics of a given target population are known.

Deborah McLeod, Tim Rowland, Christina M. Rudin-Brown, Thomas Smahel, Andreas Rose