We sometimes ask ourselves why the police are constantly pulling people over for speeding instead of focusing on apprehending murderers or the real criminals.
However, according to a research project conducted by scientists in California and Canada that was published in the June 28 issue of The Lancet, police officers who pull us over are actually saving lives.
Researchers found that a person who receives a traffic ticket will be 35% less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than a person who has not received a ticket. However, this figure equalizes out after the sting of the ticket wears off (i.e. roughly two weeks later).
The study also revealed that within three to four months, the driver who received a traffic ticket is no more cautious than when he was originally pulled over.
Nevertheless, during that two week interval, the overwhelming majority of ticketed drivers were more careful.
According to the researches, this translates into thousands of saved lives per year.
Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto and Robert Tibshirani of Stanford University, the two men responsible for conducting the study, are medical researchers who study correlations between driver safety and fatal accidents.
After discovering that more than a million people die in traffic accidents worldwide, they decided to conduct this study.
Moreover, they determined that 25 million people around the world are permanently disabled by traffic accidents and many of the victims are children.
Their study involved a sample size of over 10 million licensed drivers. According to their research, 8,975 were involved in a fatal accident between 1988 and 1998.
“We looked at the month prior to a fatal accident, and the number of traffic convictions, and then the same month in the year before,” Mr. Tibshirani explained.
“What we found was that there were fewer tickets in the month before a fatal accident than there were a year before, and that suggests there’s a protective effect of having a ticket,” he said.
Furthermore, when the number of issued citations decreased, the number of fatal accidents increased the following month.
Likewise, when the number of traffic tickets increased, the number of fatal accidents decreased the following month.
Ultimately, their analysis revealed that fatal accidents declined by 35 percent due to the issuance of traffic tickets.