Table of Contents
Journal of Criminology
Volume 2014, Article ID 827194, 12 pages
Research Article

Motorist's Response to an Increase in Traffic Fines

Research and Documentation Centre, Ministry of Security and Justice, P.O. Box 20301, 2500 EH Den Haag, The Netherlands

Received 25 September 2013; Revised 31 December 2013; Accepted 18 January 2014; Published 2 March 2014

Academic Editor: P. N. S. Hoaken

Copyright © 2014 Debora E. G. Moolenaar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Minor offences are often punished with a fine. Up to 2007 the number of fines in the Netherlands was increasing but 2008 saw a decline. At the same time fines were raised significantly. The question is whether the raise in fines caused the decline in the number of fines. To answer this question a database containing administrative fines for speeding on the motorway over the period 2007–2010 is analyzed. Two categories are compared: speeding offences detected by average speed measuring systems (ASMS) and speeding offences detected by police officers. For each category the elasticity of fines is estimated. It turns out that the elasticity of fines detected by an ASMS is small but differs significantly from both 0 and −1. If fines are raised by 1%, the offence rate, that is, proportion of fines detected by an ASMS, will decline by 0.14%. For fines handed out by police officers we see no such effect: the estimated elasticity of the number of fines is positive and does not significantly differ from zero. The conclusion is that motorists make moderate adjustments in their behavior when fines are raised but only if the risk of being caught is high.