Safer driving

  • 2016
  • Ministry of Home Affairs Singapore

Promoting safer driving is relevant and desirable for governments everywhere. Accidents caused by dangerous driving impose huge costs on people and societies, both personal and economic. At least for now, no vehicle can move without being under the control of someone so addressing unsafe behaviours can deliver enormous benefits.

Using a behavioural lens to examine this issue requires seeing some aspects of dangerous driving not a deliberate intent to break the law but rather as the consequences of biases, such as lower risk perception and habit. Reframing dangerous driving from a behavioural angle in this way allows us to explore ways to encourage safer driving that address these biases, for example making penalties more salient, emphasising the consequences of drivers’ actions or highlighting the certainty of being caught rather than just the severity of the punishment.

In Singapore, BIT has been working with the Ministry of Home Affairs to raise compliance rates regarding paying traffic fines and increase road safety. This has been done through a process of continuous iteration and improvement of ‘Notice of Traffic Offence’ communications.

This has included work to emphasise the consequences of offenders’ actions, highlight expected behaviour, and simplify both language and payment options. Our initial randomised controlled trial was successful in increasing fine payment rates and this success continued in a scaled-up project. Further testing is currently in progress.