NHTSA: High visibility enforcement of traffic safety laws has measurable impact

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High visibility enforcement (HVE) of traffic safety laws has a measurable impact on roadway safety by reducing dangerous driving behaviors, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study.

Researchers examined data from 80 studies with a focus on the dangerous driving behaviors to study the relationship between HVE efforts and safety outcomes and discovered initiatives involving equitable enforcement and public outreach can reduce risky behaviors.

One additional checkpoint weekly per 100,000 people increased the seatbelt use rate by 0.76 percentage points while seatbelt use rates increased an average of 3.5 percentage points when an HVE campaign was utilized.

In 1994, belt-use rates were 58 percent compared to more than 90 percent in 2020. This is attributed to the success of the federal Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement program.

In 2020, when many police departments reduced traffic enforcement because of the COVID-19 pandemic, seatbelt rates fell slightly.

Researchers also discovered that enforcement was effective reducing dangerous behavior that are contributors to roadway fatalities.

HVE campaigns focused on distracted driving led to a reduction in hand-held phone use. Campaigns focused on alcohol-impaired driving lowered the rates of drunk driving crashes and citations, and campaigns focused on speeding also decreased speeds in work zones.