The intention of an environmental safety improvement may be to lower the accident rate, but drivers may respond by driving less carefully than before, thus diverting the improvement to the pursuit of some non-safety goal, such as quick arrival at a destination. A model of such behavior is given, in which the driver is assumed to be rational, that is, to act so as to maximize the subjective expectation of the total value of his ends. Conditions are derived that predict whether rational drivers will react to an environmental improvement such that the accident rate is lower than, equal to or higher than its previous value. An example is given in the context of speed choice, showing that rational drivers may indeed respond so that accidents increase following certain safety changes. Alternatively, an equal or lower accident rate may follow, depending on the functions relating speed and accident rate before and after the safety innovation. The direction of change does not depend on the specific values of the driver's utilities for speed or accidents. The fact that rational drivers may react in this perverse way, underlines the need for taking danger compensation into account when introducing a safety change./Author/

  • Corporate Authors:

    Queen's University, Ontario

    Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Kingston, Ontario  Canada  K7L 3N6
  • Authors:
    • O'Neill, B
  • Publication Date: 1975-11

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 22 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00131823
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 4 1976 12:00AM