Rewards for safe driving behaviour: Influence on following distance and speed

  • Published: Transportation Research Record No. 1980, 2006
  • Authors: U. Mazureck, and J. van Hattem
  • Date Added: 08 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 08 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


To assess the impact of feedback and rewards on compliance with speed limits and safe headways.


In this Dutch Belonitor trial, 62 cars driven by the customers of a leasing company were fitted with a system to monitor speed and time headway from the vehicle in front. Baseline driving was compared with driving with Belonitor support. An initial baseline period with the system inactive was compared with driving with system support and with an after phase when support was once again switched off. For safe behaviour, i.e. complying with speed limits and not following too closely, drivers earned reward points which could be spent in a shopping catalogue. Drivers received continuous feedback on their compliance via a small dashboard unit.

Key Findings:

  • In the system-active period speeding was reduced considerably. The proportion of distance travelled below the speed limit increased from 68 per cent in the before period to 86 per cent in the first part of the supported period.

  • Speed compliance was better on weekdays than at weekends.

  • There was a tendency for the effect of the system to wear off a little after 11 weeks, perhaps because the rewards were reduced, but nevertheless compliance remained substantially greater than in the before period.

  • When support was withdrawn, behaviour reverted to being only a little better than in the before period.

  • The pattern for short (less than 1.3sec) headways was similar. Activation of the system improved behaviour.There was more driving with short headways on weekdays than at weekends, probably because of more crowded roads.

  • Activation of the system increased the percentage of distance travelled at safe headways from 58 per cent to 77 per cent.

  • However the effect on headway wore off over time, so that by the 19th week with the system active half of the improvement has been lost.In the after period compliance with safe headway reverted to the behaviour in the before period.


Intelligent Speed Adaptation, Headway, Feedback, Rewards


The study indicates the need to maintain feedback and rewards.