Are Current Law Enforcement Strategies Associated with a Lower Risk of Repeat Speeding Citations and Crash Involvement? A Longitudinal Study of Speeding Maryland Drivers

National Study Center for Trauma & EMS, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Annals of epidemiology (Impact Factor: 2.15). 06/2011; 21(9):641-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2011.03.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To determine whether traffic court appearances and different court verdicts were associated with risk of subsequent speeding citations and crashes.
A cohort of 29,754 Maryland drivers ticketed for speeding who either went to court or paid fines by mail in May/June 2003 was followed for 3 years. Drivers appearing in court were categorized by verdicts: 1) not guilty, 2) suspension of prosecution/no prosecution (STET/NP), 3) case dismissed, 4) probation before judgment (PBJ) and fines, or 5) fines and demerit points. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (AHR).
Court appearances were associated with lower risk of subsequent speeding citations (AHR = 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.88-0.96), but higher risk of crashes (AHR = 1.25; 95% CI, 1.16-1.35). PBJ was associated with significantly lower repeat speeding tickets (AHR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.75-0.91) and a non-significant decrease in crashes (AHR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.75-1.02). Both repeat speeding tickets and subsequent crashes were significantly lower in the STET/NP group.
PBJ and STET/NP may reduce speeding and crashes, but neither verdict eliminated excess crash risk among drivers who choose court appearances. Randomized, controlled evaluations of speeding countermeasures are needed to inform traffic safety policies.

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