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Community Fire Safety Initiatives: Incentives And Insurance Benefits
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Received: January 10, 2021 / Revised: March 9, 2021 / Accepted: March 9, 2021 / Published: March 19, 2021
This study examined the effectiveness of different financial incentive schemes to improve driver safety performance, with particular focus on speeding, tailgating and frequent lane changes without signaling. The study tested the hypothesis that small but reliable rewards are more effective than large but infrequent rewards in modifying unsafe driving behavior in Israeli professional bus drivers. While this hypothesis has been tested and partially supported in laboratory studies, the current study is the first to test it under real-world conditions. This study shows that a combination of monitoring, rewards (monetary compensation), and real-time information on drivers’ driving performance results in sustained and significant reductions in traffic violations. The results show that financial incentives are effective in encouraging safe driving behavior. At the same time, the results show that small but probable rewards can be more effective than large but uncertain ones. This study also demonstrates that behavioral improvement continued in the immediate post-experiment period.
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Road accidents have significant economic and social costs. Therefore, improving road safety is essential for achieving sustainable development . Driver behavior and especially traffic violations have long been identified as major factors in road accidents [2, 3, 4, 5], and some sources suggest that traffic violations are responsible for 90% of road accidents . Interventions to modify driving behavior have generally relied on the deterrence paradigm and focused on the prevention of risky behavior. However, promoting good or appropriate behavior is rarely emphasized in the traffic safety literature .
Moreover, research on how driving behavior is influenced by the type, value and probability of rewards has not received much attention. The current study examined the effectiveness of different financial incentive schemes to improve driver safety performance, focusing on the extent of influence of small but reliable rewards compared to large but infrequent rewards, in a sample of professional bus drivers in Israel. While this hypothesis has been tested and partially supported in laboratory studies, the current study was the first to test it under real-world conditions.
The deterrence paradigm suggests that people fear sanctions and change their behavior to avoid them [8, 9]. Attempts to reduce the potential benefits of risky driving include fines of various magnitudes, license suspensions or revocations, mandatory driver rehabilitation courses, community service, imprisonment, and other attempts to modify the social acceptability of such behavior in the among young drivers. peer groups . The effectiveness of such sanctions remains a matter of debate. While sanctions reduce crime, their impact on accidents appears to be limited [9, 11, 12] and may not be properly sustained in the long term . While many studies have examined the effectiveness of sanctions and enforcement as a means of changing driver behavior, good or appropriate behavior is rarely highlighted in the field of road safety .
Speeding is the most common violation related to fatal accidents and plays an important role in one third of traffic accidents caused by other factors . Elvik  estimated that if all drivers drove below the speed limit, the number of fatalities would decrease by about one-fifth. The enforcement of speed limits is therefore a central global challenge.
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While governments regularly implement various penalty schemes, many drivers commit illegal speeding . One reason for this is that drivers assume from previous experience that speeding is not inherently risky. While speeding has demonstrable benefits such as time savings, negative consequences such as road accidents are rare. Furthermore, drivers assume that the probability of being caught is negligible, and often lax enforcement practices reinforce this assumption. According to Perry et al., traffic violators consider their chances of being caught to be less than objective . Consequently, it is not surprising that many drivers view the decision to speed favorably, especially if they have never been involved in an accident or received a speeding ticket . Many people consider speeding permissible .
According to the deterrence paradigm, drivers speed because they believe that doing so will bring them economic or prestige-related benefits. In particular, young men have been found to be more likely to speed for reasons such as peer pressure, lack of driving experience, greater susceptibility to excitement or inadequate parental modeling [19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. These factors are likely to affect other demographic groups as well, albeit to a more limited extent. Society has a strong interest in changing the equation so that the perceived risks of unsafe driving (eg, injuries or arrests) outweigh the potential (primarily time-saving) benefits.
The main flaw in the equation presented above is that decision-making is rarely done in such a calculative way, especially given the immediacy of road decision-making . Even if we limit violations to intentional violations rather than slips, errors, or mistakes  , individuals rarely perform a full cost-benefit analysis, and even when they do, the validity of the information they use is at best limited. Consider, for example, whether the average driver has access to data on the objective risk of an accident. This lack of access does not mean that individuals do not act rationally, but only that instead of performing computational feats, individuals rely on shortcuts such as heuristic thinking. Importantly, this suggests that using rewards can be particularly beneficial. Kahenman and Tversky  famously showed that certain constellations of rewards can influence decision-making in a cost-benefit analysis beyond their objective value.
Psychological theories of learning and motivation show that positive sanctions that reward good behavior are at least as powerful a behavior modification tool as those that punish bad behavior. This fact has not received much attention in the traffic safety literature, although some studies have indicated the potential usefulness of this approach . Most reward systems focus on seat belt wearing because it is easily demonstrated . Rewarding drivers who obey the legal speed limit is much more challenging because it requires continuous monitoring . However, the availability of modern technology, especially in-vehicle recorders (IVRs) and global positioning systems (GPSs), allows automatic and long-term monitoring of traffic behavior .
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Hagenzieker  found that seat belt use generally resulted in a significant improvement. Reward combined with feedback appears to have a positive effect on speeding. For example, a program for commercial drivers in Syria gave drivers feedback on their driving behavior by awarding points for obeying the law, including driving speed. These points were eventually converted into financial rewards. The evaluation of the program found that both the average speed and the percentage of speeding violations decreased . An evaluation of a similar scheme in the Netherlands focused on drivers of leased cars and found that drivers were more likely to obey the speed limit and avoid backseat driving when the program was implemented than during other periods .
Many countries have experimented with rewarding young drivers. In Norway, for example, part of the insurance premium was returned to young drivers if they remained accident-free for a certain period of time. This resulted in significantly fewer accident reports than young drivers who did not participate in this scheme . In Sweden, the young drivers participating in the experiment received a starting bonus. The bonus was reduced for every minute the speed limit was exceeded. At the end of the month, each participant received the cash value of the remaining amount. The study showed that participants committed fewer speeding incidents overall, and the number of serious speeding incidents
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