Drivers and Traffic Laws: A Review of Psychological Theories and Empirical Research

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Two fundamental assumptions ought to underlie any attempt to understand driver behavior in relation to traffic laws: first, citizens have the obligation to comply with the laws of the state; and second, traffic laws are beneficial and contribute to drivers' safety. This paper reviews some of the explanations, in relation to general theories about the violation of law among non-delinquent citizens. The paper examines if certain unique characteristics of traffic laws might make compliance especially difficult, namely: traffic laws have a more ubiquitous presence in people's everyday lives than most other laws; compliance with some traffic laws required constant effort and alertness, e.g., maintaining speed limit; some traffic laws are not dichotomous, and it is possible to violate them only a little, e.g., exceeding the speed limit a little, or coming to a nearly full stop at a stop sign.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTraffic and transport psychology
EditorsGeoffrey Underwood
ISBN (Electronic)9780080550794
ISBN (Print)9780080443799
StatePublished - 2005


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