-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, June 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Stricter laws and more
severe penalties for extreme speeding and aggressive driving appear
to have dramatically reduced the number of speeding-related deaths
and injuries among young men, a new study finds.
Researchers assessed the impact of the new laws introduced by
the province of Ontario in Canada in autumn 2007. Drivers caught
going 31 mph or more over the speed limit or engaging in racing or
other types of dangerous driving can have their licenses suspended
on the spot and their cars impounded for seven days.
If convicted, they also face a $2,000 to $10,000 fine, license
suspension for up to two years or six demerit points, and up to six
months in jail. Penalties are even more severe with a second
The team at the University of Western Ontario analyzed
provincial government data and found that after the new laws were
introduced, speeding-related injuries and death among males aged 16
to 24 fell by about 58 a month.
That means that the number of young males injured or killed in
speeding-related crashes declined by about 700 a year since the new
rules were introduced.
From the time the new rules took effect and the end of 2011,
more than 24,000 drivers' licenses were suspended. The license
suspension rate among male drivers ages 16 to 24 was 1.21 percent,
compared with 0.37 percent for male drivers ages 25 to 64, 0.21
percent for female drivers ages 16 to 24, and 0.07 percent for
female drivers ages 25 to 64.
"First of all we looked at males and females, and then we looked at younger and older individuals because we know from my earlier research, that street racing and extreme speeding is an activity that typically younger males are more likely to engage in," study author Evelyn Vingilis, a professor in family medicine, and epidemiology and biostatistics, said in a university news release.
"What we found was a substantial reduction in the number of convictions for extreme speeding for males, and no change for females because they were pretty low anyway. And importantly, we found a significant decrease in the number of motor vehicle casualties of males 16 to 24 -- quite a significant reduction."
The results show that strict laws and severe penalties likely
discourage dangerous driving, Vingilis said. The study wasn't
designed to conclusively prove that the laws were directly
responsible for the changes in driving behavior, though the
association between those factors is strong.
The findings were published online recently in the journals
Accident Analysis & Preventionand
Traffic Injury Prevention.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
motor vehicle safety.
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