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Tougher Laws Tied to Fewer Deaths in Male Drivers

Update Date: Jun 07, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

Stricter laws and regulations can encourage people to practice safer driving, researchers reported. In the new study conducted by a team from Western University located in London, Canada, the researchers discovered that strict speeding and aggressive driving laws helped reduce the number of injuries and fatal accidents in young male drivers.

In this study, the researchers headed by Evelyn Vingilis, PhD, a professor in Family Medicine, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry examined the effects of the 2007 driving laws. They analyzed the data with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), which ranged from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2011. Overall for the age group of 16-24, 1.21 percent of licensed drivers had their licenses suspended. Only .37 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 64 had their licenses taken away.

The team reported that the new law called the Ontario's Street Racers, Stunt, and Aggressive Drivers Legislation (Bill 203) helped reduce injuries and fatalities caused by speeding by a rate of 58 per month for male drivers between the ages of 16 and 24. This rate translates to around 700 fewer cases per year.

"First of all we looked at males and females, and then we looked at younger and older individuals because we know from my earlier research, that street racing and extreme speeding is an activity that typically younger males are more likely to engage in," said Vingilis reported by Medical Xpress. "What we found was a substantial reduction in the number of convictions for extreme speeding for males, and no change for females because they were pretty low any way. And importantly, we found a significant decrease in the number of motor vehicle casualties of males 16 to 24 -quite a significant reduction."

Under the law, drivers who are caught speeding will have their vehicles impounded for one week. If the drivers are convicted, a fine can range from $2000-$10,000 and a license suspension can last for up to two years. The penalties become more extreme for each conviction after the first.

The study's findings were published in two different journals, the Accident Analysis & Prevention and the Traffic Injury Prevention.

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