Toward Greater Understanding of the Relationship Between Public Perceptions of Speed, Speed Laws, and Safety
Thursday, February 1, 2018
About the Seminar
Speed continues to be a leading factor contributing to traffic fatalities in the United States; it was implicated in more than 9,500 traffic deaths in 2015. Despite this, in recent years, some states have moved toward more lenient speed enforcement regimes. A public choice problem may be to blame: voters may not be demanding effective speed enforcement regimes of their elected officials.
The presentation outlined a project that explored this dilemma by attempting to ascertain whether there is a relationship between state speed laws, roadway fatality rates, and public perceptions of speed. Better data are needed for definitive conclusions to be made regarding a possible relationship between these three bodies of knowledge.
Project findings suggested that by improving data on the role of speed in crashes and public perceptions regarding speed, developing a standard measurement of speed law enforcement in each state, and adopting more consistent speed laws across states, a virtuous cycle can be initiated that helps dismantle the public choice problem, thus enabling the establishment of more effective speed enforcement regimes throughout the country.
About the Speakers
Frank Douma is the director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a research scholar at the Center for Transportation Studies, both located at the University of Minnesota. He manages research projects related to several areas of transportation policy, including impacts of developments in information and communications technologies and urban corridor development.
Frank Alarcon is a research assistant with the State and Local Policy Program and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning candidate at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Outside of the University, Frank works in transit planning for Ramsey County, Minnesota, and serves as president of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association in South Minneapolis. Before joining the Humphrey School, Frank served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural El Salvador, where he focused on community development and education. Frank completed a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Chicago in 2013.