Enforcement: Knowledge base

A great amount of scientific research has been carried out into practices and future needs of traffic law enforcement in Europe. This page provides links to studies pertaining to police enforcement in general. Specific research on police enforcement in the areas of seat belt use, drink driving and speeding as well as research on enforcement technologies and "self-enforcing" road design is listed under these headings.

A more general introduction into police enforcement can be found in the ETSC Fact Sheet Police Enforcement.

Two major research projects have been carried out at European level.

The ESCAPE papers examine both traditional and innovative enforcement approaches and assess their potential to increase road safety in Europe. The main issues addressed are the extent of non-compliance with traffic laws and its contribution to accidents, how enforcement is organised and carried out in EU countries and the potential for new approaches, technologies and tools.

ESCAPE - Traffic enforcement in Europe: effects, measures, needs and future

The SUNFLOWER report of 2002 compares policies to combat drink driving and the non-use of seat belts in Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands and makes recommendations on how to improve them.

In the ongoing follow-up project, SUNFLOWER +6 traffic law enforcement in these three countries is being studied in more detail. An attempt is being made to assess new trends in police enforcement and their effects on road safety in each country. Changes in attitudes to enforcement, especially in the area of speed enforcement, are being tracked.

SUNFLOWER - A comparative study of the development of road safety in Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands

The Clifford Chance report of May 2003 gives a detailed overview of speed and drink driving rules in the EU Member States, accompanied by in-depth information on the

Clifford Chance - Information gathering on speeding, drink driving and seat belt use in the Member States, part I, part II

The cost-benefit study carried out by ICF Consulting in 2003 calculates the benefits that could be achieved if measures akin to those outlined in the Commission Recommendation were applied in all EU countries.

ICF Consulting - Costs-Benefit Analysis of Road Safety Improvements

A VTI study of 2004 has measured the impact that different levels of compliance with key traffic rules have on road safety. The report does however not make any recommendations regarding the enforcement of these rules.

VTI - Traffic safety measures and observance of the law. Speed adaptation, usage of seat belt and sober drivers (in Swedish)

The ETSC review on police enforcement strategies examines the safety potential of the most important enforcement tools. The 2003 review deals with random breath testing as a cost-effective EU road safety measure. The 2001 review on transport safety performance indicators includes a chapter on behavioural indicators, comprising examples of monitoring systems used in different countries to measure compliance with seat belt, alcohol and speed legislation.

Police enforcement strategies to reduce traffic casualties in Europe (1999)
Cost-effective transport safety measures (2003)
Transport safety performance indicators (2001)

The recently started SafetyNet project is developing a uniform methodology for all 25 EU Member States to produce comparable safety performance indicators. It is also collecting data that meet these standards already.

The subsequent SARTRE reports deal with social attitudes towards traffic violations as well as the estimated likelihood of being caught and punished.

SARTRE - Social Attitudes to Road Traffic Risks in Europe

The following two publications evaluate enforcement policies at a national or regional level.

The PACTS report of 1999 reviews the situation of traffic law enforcement in England and Wales and highlights a number of areas for further action to improve road traffic law enforcement in the UK as a whole.

PACTS - Road Traffic Law and Enforcement: a driving force for casualty reduction

PACTS is now carrying out a follow-up project to examine the changing role of the police service in the context of rapid technological change and operational developments.

SWOV has evaluated the road safety effects of regional traffic enforcement plans implemented in 2000 and 2001 in the Netherlands and made recommendations for further improvements.

SWOV - Evaluatie van de regionale verkeershandhavingsplannen (in Dutch)

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