Support measures: police enforcement

Veli-Pekka Kallberg, Justyna, Wacowska-Slezak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleProfessional


As already briefly described in Chapter 2, a Demerit Point Systems (DPS) can be seen as a
supplement to the traffic enforcement system. The purpose of enforcement and DPS is to
improve road safety by reducing and preventing unlawful behaviour of road users. The
effects of enforcement on road safety depend on several things: frequency of traffic rule
violations, the capability of enforcement to catch offenders, the sanctions to offenders and
the visibility of enforcement to the general public. The additional element that a DPS brings
to enforcement concerns the focus on road users – usually owners of a driving licence – who
repeatedly commit traffic offences. The underlying logic of a DPS is that in addition to
sanctions for single offences, frequent offenders need supplementary sanctions such as
withdrawal of driving licence for a certain period.

When we consider the role of enforcement in connection with DPS, the main element is its
capability to catch drivers who repeatedly commit offences. Then the level of enforcement is
a key issue. For an effective DPS it is essential that the level of enforcement is at a sufficient
level so that road users who have been caught once feel that there is a real risk of being
caught again if they commit further offences (i.e. within the time period the demerit points
issued for previous offence(s) are still valid). In other words, road users’ subjective risk of
getting caught must be at a sufficient level. This subjective risk depends, among other things,
on the actual, objective risk of getting caught. Other potential factors affecting subjective risk
concern e.g. supportive measures, such as communication and information campaigns
concerning enforcement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdentification of the essential features for an effective Demerit Point System
EditorsCharles Goldenbeld, Ingrid van Schangen, Willem Vlakveld
PublisherEuropean Commission EC
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeNot Eligible


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