Speeding in school zones: Violation or lapse in prospective memory?

Bree Gregory, Julia D. Irwin*, Ian J. Faulks, Eugene Chekaluk

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    397 Downloads (Pure)


    Inappropriate speed is a causal factor in around one third of fatal accidents (OECD/ECMT, 2006). But are drivers always consciously responsible for their speeding behavior? Two studies are reported which show that an interruption to a journey, caused by stopping at a red traffic light, can result in failure to resume the speed of travel prior to the interruption (Study 1). In Study 2 we showed that the addition of a reminder cue could offset this interruption. These studies were conducted in a number of Australian school zone sites subject to a 40 km/h speed limit, requiring a reduction of between 20 km/h and 40 km/h. Motorists who had stopped at a red traffic signal sped on average, 8.27 km/h over the speed limit compared with only 1.76 km/h over the limit for those who had not been required to stop. In the second study a flashing "check speed" reminder cue, placed 70 m after the traffic lights, in the same school zones as those in Study 1 eliminated the interruptive effect of stopping with drivers resuming their journey at the legal speed. These findings have practical implications for the design of road environments, enforcement of speed limits, and the safety of pedestrians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-198
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014

    Bibliographical note

    This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers, http://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000019. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.


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