The speed paradox : the misalignment between driver attitudes and speeding behaviour

Fleiter, Judy J. & Watson, Barry C. (2005) The speed paradox : the misalignment between driver attitudes and speeding behaviour. In Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference, 14-16 November 2005, Wellington, New Zealand.

View at publisher


This paper reports on a study investigating preferred driving speeds and frequency of speeding of 320 Queensland drivers. Despite growing community concern about speeding and extensive research linking it to road trauma, speeding remains a pervasive, and arguably, socially acceptable behaviour. This presents an apparent paradox regarding the mismatch between beliefs and behaviours, and highlights the necessity to better understand the factors contributing to speeding. Utilising self-reported behaviour and attitudinal measures, results of this study support the notion of a speed paradox. Two thirds of participants agreed that exceeding the limit is not worth the risks nor is it okay to exceed the posted limit. Despite this, more than half (58.4%) of the participants reported a preference to exceed the 100km/hour speed limit, with one third preferring to do so by 10 to 20 km/hour. Further, mean preferred driving speeds on both urban and open roads suggest a perceived enforcement tolerance of 10%, suggesting that posted limits have limited direct influence on speed choice. Factors that significantly predicted the frequency of speeding included: exposure to role models who speed; favourable attitudes to speeding; experiences of punishment avoidance; and the perceived certainty of punishment for speeding. These findings have important policy implications, particularly relating to the use of enforcement tolerances.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

183 since deposited on 18 Apr 2006
17 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 3892
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: beliefs, speed limits, risks, driver behaviour, deterrence
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 18 Apr 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2011 04:50

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page