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The effect on collisions with injuries of a reduction in traffic citations issued by police officers
  1. Étienne Blais1,2,3,
  2. Marie-Pier Gagné1
  1. 1School of Criminology, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistic and Transportation, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  3. 3Quebec National Institute for Public Health (INSPQ), Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Étienne Blais, School of Criminology, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada; etienne.blais{at}umontreal.ca

Abstract

Objective To assess the effect on collisions with injuries of a 61% reduction in the number of traffic citations issued by police officers over a 21-month period.

Methods Using descriptive analyses as well as ARIMA intervention time-series analyses, this study estimated the impact of this reduction in citations issued for traffic violations on the monthly number of collisions with injuries.

Results Simple descriptive analysis reveals that the 61% reduction in the number of citations issued for traffic violations during the experimental period coincided with an increase in collisions with injuries. Results from the interrupted time-series analyses reveal that, on average, eight additional collisions with injuries occurred every month during which the number of tickets issued for traffic violations was lower than normal. As this pressure tactic was applied for 21 months, it is estimated that this situation was associated with approximately 184 additional collisions with injuries: equivalent to 239 traffic injuries (either deaths, minor or serious injuries).

Conclusion In the province of Quebec, police officers are an important component of road safety policy. Issuing citations prevents drivers from adopting reckless driving habits such as speeding, running red lights and failing to fasten their seat belt.

  • Deterrence
  • driver
  • evaluation
  • interrupted time series
  • law enforcement
  • policy
  • public health
  • traffic injuries
  • traffic violations

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Footnotes

  • Funding The results presented in this paper are part of a research programme on police activities and road safety. This programme is funded by the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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