The effects of external motivation and real-time automated feedback on speeding behavior in a naturalistic setting

Hum Factors. 2013 Feb;55(1):218-30. doi: 10.1177/0018720812447812.


Objective: In this field experiment, the authors tested an alerting system and a monetary incentive system with the objective of reducing speeding more than 5 mph faster than the posted speed limit.

Background: Speeding is a factor in a significant number of traffic fatalities. The systems tested in this project have been evaluated outside but not within the United States. These studies indicated that similar systems led to reductions in speeding.

Method: For this study, eight vehicles were instrumented such that vehicle speed and speed limits were linked in real time. A total of 50 participants drove assigned vehicles for 4 weeks. Week 1 was a baseline period; during Week 2 or Week 3, 40 participants experienced the alerting system that issued auditory and visual advisory signals when drivers exceeded the limit by 5 mph or more. Of these 40 individuals, 20 experienced the monetary incentive system during Weeks 2 and 3; Week 4 was a return-to-baseline period. A control group of 10 drivers experienced neither system during the study.

Results: Results indicated that the incentive system resulted in significant reductions in driving faster than the posted limit, and the feedback system led to modest changes in speeding. In the condition in which drivers experienced the feedback and incentive, reductions in speeding were similar to those found during the incentive-only condition.

Conclusion: The technology tested in this study has potential to benefit traffic safety by reducing the incidence of driving faster than the posted limit, which should lead to a reduction in speed-related crashes.

Application: Insurers provide incentive-based discounts on premiums. Combining this technology with such a discount program may improve traffic safety significantly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration / adverse effects*
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Acoustic Stimulation / psychology
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Automation / methods
  • Automobile Driving / standards*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Motivation