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Driving licenses based on points systems: Efficient road safety strategy or latest fashion in global transport policy? A worldwide meta-analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Castillo-Manzano, José I.
  • Castro-Nuño, Mercedes
Registered author(s):

    One of the most popular coactive measures developed to prevent road traffic accidents in recent decades is the implementation of driving licenses based on points systems (PS) which penalize repeat offenders with suspension or withdrawal of their licenses. This paper analyzes their rapid spread worldwide through an in-depth review of the existing literature. A comprehensive meta-analysis of the effects of PS on road traffic accidents and the duration of these effects has been conducted. The findings show that the strong initial positive impact (15 to 20% reductions in accidents, fatalities and injuries) seems to wear off in under eighteen months. This limited effectiveness is related to the absence of complementary enforcement to back up these measures. Without them, points systems could turn into a boomerang road safety policy, and even be abandoned at a later date. The implications of the conclusions for legislation and future research are considered.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transport Policy.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 191-201

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:21:y:2012:i:c:p:191-201
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2012.02.003
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    1. Simona Benedettini & Antonio Nicita, 2009. "Deterrence, Incapacitation and Enforcement Design. Evidence from Traffic Enforcement in Italy," Department of Economics University of Siena 564, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Bourgeon, Jean-Marc & Picard, Pierre, 2007. "Point-record driving licence and road safety: An economic approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 235-258, February.
    3. Georges Dionne & Jean Pinquet & Mathieu Maurice & Charles Vanasse, 2011. "Incentive Mechanisms for Safe Driving: A Comparative Analysis with Dynamic Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 218-227, February.
    4. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Mariatiziana Falcone, 2010. "The Deterrent Effects of Penalty Point System in Driving Licenses: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Working Papers 201004, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    5. Marcello Basili & Antonio Nicita, 2005. "Deterrence and Compliance in a Demerit Point System," Department of Economics University of Siena 458, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. Priya, Tanu & Uteng, André, 2009. "Dynamics of transport and social exclusion: Effects of expensive driver's license," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 130-139, July.
    7. Wong, S.C. & Wong, C.W. & Sze, N.N., 2008. "Attitudes of public light bus drivers to penalties to combat red light violations in Hong Kong," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 43-54, January.
    8. Mohammed Ohidul Haque, 1990. "Evaluation of the Demerit Points System in Deterring Traffic Offenses," Evaluation Review, , vol. 14(1), pages 22-41, February.
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