Fair Traffic Laws
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The purpose of this survey is not to determine whether or not motorists obey traffic regulations. Rather, it was designed to discover how important motorists believe it is that certain traffic regulations should be obeyed.

Therefore, wording in the questions directs respondents to consider how important it is that others obey these traffic regulations. (See Traffic Regulation Compliance Survey on the Home Page).

To avoid biased responses, the questionnaire was placed on the home page where visitors would encounter it before reading further and were advised to complete the survey before viewing other pages.


1. Moving over to allow passing in the left-hand lane.

2. Signaling soon enough to allow others to accommodate maneuvers.

3. Following at a safe distance.

4. Using right-hand lanes when traveling more slowly than other traffic.

5. Traveling at least as fast in the HOV lane as traffic is flowing in other lanes.

6. Obeying posted speed limits.

Data from 238 respondents are listed in the following table.

 Behavior  Very
 Important Somewhat
 Impedance 108 64 36 16
 Signaling 130 79 22 7
 Following Dist. 143 67 25 3
 Keeping Right 155 54 14 10
HOV Lane  83 45 134 16
 Speed Limits 44 50 82 62

        Responses were scored by multiplying the numbers in the table by weighting values shown in the following table:

Very Important
 Important  2
 Somewhat Important
 Not Important

Plotting weighted values produces the following chart:


Note that the results for the first four coordinating regulations are similar and score approximately twice as high as the results for obeying posted speed limits. This may indicate that motorists consider that disobedience of coordinating laws is much more dangerous than driving faster than posted speed limits. 

These results must not be interpreted as evidence that motorists do not respect the importance of speed in traffic safety.
Rather, the reason for the preponderance of “Somewhat Important” and “Not Important” responses for posted speed limits may be that motorists know that most of the time it is safe to drive at speeds faster than presently posted speed limits and they do not see a problem when others do the same.

Considering the fact that the great majority of citations are written for exceeding speed limits, it appears that enforcing coordinating regulations may be a minor concern to enforcement agencies. This could indicate that present enforcement practices are seriously out-of-touch with the needs and desires of the driving public.

The next page examines the relationship between vehicle speed and safety in normal traffic and includes a rule for selecting the safest speed in free flowing traffic.

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