Differences in the perceived justice of penalties for road traffic offences between Lithuanian offenders and non-offenders

Endriulaitienė Auksė, Justina Slavinskienė, Laura Šeibokaitė, Rasa Markšaitytė, Mark Sullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most countries around the world use the penalties’ system in order to increase compliance with road traffic rules. However, it can be argued that the most penalties’ systems are ineffective, as drivers do not change offending behavior due to received penalty and repeatedly violate them. The perceived fairness of these penalties may be related to the level of adherence to these traffic rules. Therefore, this research explored the perceived justice of penalties for road traffic rules in a sample of Lithuanian drivers and investigated the differences between offenders and non-offenders. The sample consisted of 358 participants (63.4 percent females, aged 18–75, mean age 35.2 years) who completed an online survey. Participants were asked to report how fair they believed penalties were for road traffic rule offences in general and using a list of 23 specific penalties, including: drink driving, speeding, dangerous maneuverings, illegal overtaking, handheld phone use while driving, etc. The survey measured demographic data, as well as data regarding driving exposure, traffic offences and crashes during the last 12 months. The results revealed that in general drivers perceived the penalties as fair or adequate. The answer “adequate/fair” was chosen most frequently for almost all penalties (from 41.1 to 71.3 percent), with only the penalty for carrying a child without a car seat (€30–50) being perceived as too mild (55.5%). Gender differences were found in the evaluation of the penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol, while age and driving frequency differences were found in the perceived fairness of the penalties for not using a seatbelt, aberrant driving and using a handheld mobile phone while driving. Drivers who reported no offences during the last year, perceived the penalties for speeding as being too mild, when compared to drivers with at least one penalty over the previous year. Contrarily, offenders reported the penalties for speeding as being too severe. Offenders, who experienced driving license suspension, perceived the penalties as being too severe for drink driving and aberrant driving than offenders who received monetary fines. In summary, both Lithuanian offenders and non-offenders generally perceived the penalties for traffic rule offences as adequate and fair, but individual differences and the experience of traffic sanctions were related to the perceived justice of specific penalties.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0269239
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6 June
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Differences in the perceived justice of penalties for road traffic offences between Lithuanian offenders and non-offenders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this