skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 50492 Find in a Library
Title: POLICE AND TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT (FROM POLICE IN AUSTRALIA - DEVELOPMENT, FUNCTIONS AND PROCEDURES, 1977, BY KERRY L MILTE AND THOMAS A WEBER - SEE NCJ-50485)
Author(s): C D ROBINSON
Corporate Author: Butterworth Pty Ltd
Australia
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Butterworth Pty Ltd
Chatswood 2067, Australia
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF TRAFFIC LAW IN AUSTRALIA AND THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY POLICE IN CARRYING OUT TRAFFIC-RELATED FUNCTIONS ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THERE APPEARS TO BE A CONFLICT BETWEEN PUBLIC AND POLICE PERCEPTIONS OF TRAFFIC LAW AND THE IMPORTANCE OF ROAD SAFETY. PUBLIC INDIFFERENCE TO TRAFFIC LAWS IS PARTLY PHILOSOPHICAL AND PARTLY PRAGMATIC. THE TRAFFIC LAWS ARE AT ODDS WITH CERTAIN SOCIAL VALUES AND INSTITUTIONS, THE RESULT BEING THAT MANY DRIVERS BELIEVE THAT THE LAWS HAVE NO INTRINSIC VALUE AND THAT THE ONLY REAL SIN IS TO BE CAUGHT BREAKING A LAW. MORE PRAGMATICALLY, MOST DRIVERS MAKE THEIR OWN ESTIMATES REGARDING WHEN IT IS SAFE TO BREAK THE LAW. IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT THE SYSTEM MERELY PROSECUTES DRIVERS WHOSE ESTIMATES ARE INACCURATE. FOUR MAIN FACTORS PROBABLY INFLUENCE SUCH ESTIMATES: THE CHANCE OF BEING APPREHENDED BY POLICE, THE CHANCE OF BEING PUNISHED, THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR, AND THE ACCEPTABILITY OF ALTERNATIVES TO THE UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR. AN ANALYSIS OF THESE FACTORS, WITH EMPHASIS ON THE WAYS IN WHICH THEY ALSO CONDITION THE MOTORIST'S ATTITUDE TOWARD TRAFFIC POLICE, MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE ROLE OF TRAFFIC POLICE IS A COMPLEX ONE. THE DUTIES COMMONLY PERFORMED BY AND EXPECTED OF TRAFFIC POLICE IN THE AREAS OF ENFORCEMENT, PREVENTION OF OFFENSES AND ACCIDENTS, AND EDUCATION OF MOTORISTS HAVE GIVEN RISE TO A NUMBER OF PROBLEMS. THESE PROBLEMS SUGGEST A NEED TO RATIONALIZE TRAFFIC POLICE OPERATIONS, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT PUBLIC OPINIONS AND SOCIAL VALUES AND PROVIDING DETAILED AND COMPREHENSIVE GOALS. FOR EXAMPLE, IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO SAY THAT TRAFFIC POLICE SHOULD REDUCE TRAFFIC FATALITIES; AIMS SHOULD BE SPECIFIC (E.G., REDUCTION OF DRUNK DRIVING OFFENSES, ENCOURAGEMENT OF SEATBELT WEARING). THERE ALSO APPEARS TO BE A NEED FOR A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF ALL LAWS RELATED TO THE USE OF MOTOR VEHICLES IN AUSTRALIA. TRAFFIC POLICE SHOULD BE WELL REPRESENTED AMONG THOSE WHO UNDERTAKE SUCH A REVIEW. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Australia; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Socioculture; Traffic law enforcement
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50492

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.