Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Professor Believes Safer Race Cars Result In More Accidents

Date:
May 14, 2007
Source:
West Virginia University
Summary:
A West Virginia University professor who examined 21 years of NASCAR accident reports and made a comparison to introductions of safety requirements, has concluded that more safety regulations in the popular sport has led to an increase in accidents.

A West Virginia University professor who examined 21 years of NASCAR accident reports and made a comparison to introductions of safety requirements, has concluded that more safety regulations in the popular sport has led to an increase in accidents.

In the summer issue of the Southern Economic Journal, Russell S. Sobel, professor in WVU’s College of Business and Economics and his then graduate student Todd M. Nesbit write: “When safety regulation makes automobiles safer, drivers may drive more recklessly, partially or completely offsetting effects on the overall level of safety.”

Sobel had been interested in exploring whether improved safety in automobiles would be offset by safety incentives and if such improvements would result in drivers exercising less caution because they would perceive a diminished risk of injury.

Sobel found that gathering the data was difficult, especially for the street cars driven by most Americans. Because of variations in road conditions, laws and weather factors accident rates across the nation are hard to compare between regions. But many of these conditions are controlled in NASCAR races, making the sport a perfect subject for the study.

“We are essentially able to test how the same drivers, on the same tracks and in the same weather conditions, alter their behavior in response to changes in automobile safety,” Sobel said.

In their paper titled Automobile Safety Regulation and the Incentive to Drive Recklessly: Evidence from NASCAR, Sobel and Nesbit – now an assistant professor at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College – claim that moves to create even safer race cars will cut down on injuries, but will actually increase accidents.

The study is especially pertinent since NASCAR began rolling out the safer “Cars of Tomorrow” in 2005.

“I’d call this a win-win situation,” Sobel said. “It’s well known that NASCAR fans like to see the excitement of an accident. So, with safer cars, drivers will take more risks, and they will have more accidents. But the safety measures will cause the number of injuries to decrease.”

Sobel said the study shows what he calls an “offsetting behavior” – drivers drive more recklessly in response to increased safety of their automobiles. However, total injuries will decrease because this effect is not large enough to completely offset the impact of increased automobile safety.

Sobel suspects the effect of increased safety leading to more recklessness probably applies to other sports – better helmets in football and bicycling and better gloves in boxing for example – and possibly to average motorists.

“Obviously NASCAR drivers are different from regular motorists. On the other hand ask yourself this question: Would you drive more carefully if your car was less safe, say it had no seatbelts and a dagger protruding toward your heart from the steering wheel?” he asked.

Sobel conjectures that fewer drivers would tailgate other cars under this scenario. If this is true, then drivers are already responding to safety improvements in passenger cars by driving more recklessly.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by West Virginia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

West Virginia University. "Professor Believes Safer Race Cars Result In More Accidents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070513075637.htm>.
West Virginia University. (2007, May 14). Professor Believes Safer Race Cars Result In More Accidents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070513075637.htm
West Virginia University. "Professor Believes Safer Race Cars Result In More Accidents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070513075637.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins