Traffic ticket fixing and driving behaviours in a large French working population
- Correspondence to: Dr E Lagarde INSERM U88, 14, rue du Val d’Osne, 94415 Saint-Maurice Cedex, France;
- Accepted 7 October 2003
Study objective: The use of connections who have the authority to cancel penalties related to traffic violations seems to be very frequent in France. This study aimed at describing risk taking driving behaviours associated in France with using connections to have traffic tickets cancelled (ticket fixing).
Design: Retrospective study on driving behaviour and road safety conducted between March and December 2001 within a cohort of French employees.
Participants: Employees of the French national utility company who have been followed up since 1989. The sample comprises 10 594 men aged 53–63 years and 3258 women aged 48–63 in 2001.
Main results: One third of the men and one fifth of the women reported that they had had a ticket fixed at some time. Those who reported having tickets fixed were more likely than the others to report high driving speeds (adjusted odds ratios (aOR) were 1.24, 1.52, and 1.66 in built up areas, on rural roads, and on motorways respectively), to report driving while under the influence (aOR = 1.39), and to report risky use of cellular phone while driving (aOR = 1.83). In addition, participants who reported having tickets fixed were more likely to have had at least one serious road traffic accident in the past 11 years (aOR = 1.21).
Conclusions: Indulgence and the use of connections are common practices in France. These results suggest that it is to confer a feeling of impunity that jeopardises efforts to combat unsafe driving. Abolition of these traditions is essential to ensure the credibility of preventive and repressive measures.
Funding: the project was funded by Electricité de France, Gaz de France and Fondation MAIF.
Conflicts of interest: none declared