DRIVERS' RECORDS: ARE THEY A VALID MEASURE OF DRIVING BEHAVIOR?

DRIVERS' RECORDS, AS FOUND IN DMV (DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES) FILES, ARE USED AS A BASIS FOR ADMINISTERING POINT SYSTEMS, FOR EVALUATING CREDIT APPLICATIONS AND AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOR SOME RESEARCH STUDIES. INSURANCE COVERAGE IS GRANTED OR TERMINATED AND DRIVING PRIVILEGES ARE REVOKED ON THE BASIS OF THOSE RECORDS. IN ADDITION, LAWS, POLICIES, AND PROGRAMS PERTAINING TO DRIVERS, AUTOMOBILES AND HIGHWAYS ARE INDIRECT RESULTS OF SUCH INFORMATION. THE KEYSTONE OF THE JUSTIFICATION OF THESE ACTIVITIES IS THE UNIFORMITY, CONSISTENCY AND COMPLETENESS OF: (1) COLLISION INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING; AND (2) THE ENFORCEMENT, PROSECUTION, AND ADJUDICATION AND SUBSEQUENT REPORTING OF TRAFFIC LAW VIOLATIONS TO THE DMV. THESE ACTIVITIES AND RECORDS ARE NEITHER UNIFORM, CONSISTENT NOR COMPLETE. THE PROBLEM HAS ITS ORIGIN IN THE FACT THAT DATA ARE BEING USED FOR PURPOSES FOR WHICH THEY WERE NOT INTENDED. IT MUST BE RECOGNIZED THAT POLICE AGENCIES, PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES ENJOY RELATIVE AUTONOMY. EACH MAY USE HIS OWN INTERPRETATIONS, HIS OWN DEFINITIONS AND HIS OWN TERMINOLOGY WHICH, IN TURN, ARE DESIGNED TO FIT HIS OWN POLICIES AND PRACTICES. ANY CONSIDERATION THEY MAY HAVE FOR THE USE OF THEIR RECORDS AT THE STATE LEVEL IS INCIDENTAL. AS A RESULT, WHETHER ONE IS JUDGED TO BE A BETTER OR WORSE THAN AVERAGE DRIVER OR WHETHER A GIVEN STRETCH OF ROAD IS MORE OR LESS SAFE MAY BE MORE A REFLECTION OF THE POLICIES, PRACTICES AND ATTITUDES OF THE CONTROLLING AGENTS, THAN A DESCRIPTION OF BEHAVIOR OR CONDITIONS ON THE HIGHWAY. /A/

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pergamon Press, Incorporated

    Headington Hill Hall
    Oxford OX30BW,   England 
  • Authors:
    • ZYLMAN, R
  • Publication Date: 1972-12

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00224537
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-012 679
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1974 12:00AM