Reducing air-pollution: A new argument for getting drivers to abide by the speed limit?

  • Delhomme P.
  • Chappé J.
  • Grenier K.
  • Pinto M.
  • Martha Cécile


Speeding is one of the main factors of car crash-risk, but it also contributes to increasing air-pollution. In two studies we attempted to lead drivers to abide by speed limits using "reducing air-pollution" as a new argument. We presented prevention messages that highlighted the role of speeding in increasing "crash-risk", "air-pollution", or both (Studies 1 and 2). The messages were also positively or negatively framed (Study 2). Given that women are more concerned with environmental issues than are men, we expected the following hypotheses to be validated for women. The message with the "air-pollution" argument was expected to be evaluated more positively than the "crash-risk" message (H1). The "air-pollution" and "crash-risk and air-pollution" messages were expected to be more effective than the "crash-risk" message on the behavioral intention to observe speed limits (H2a) and on the perceived efficacy of speed-limit observance in reducing air-pollution (H2b; Studies 1 and 2). Furthermore, positive framing was expected to be more effective than negative framing (H3), and presenting a message to be more effective than presenting no message (H4; Study 2). Broadly, our results argue in favor of our hypotheses. However in Study 2, the effects of message framing did not allow us to conclude that negative or positive framing was superior. All in all, messages with the "air-pollution" argument were more effective at leading drivers to observe speed limits. Thus, environmental protection may be a fruitful route to explore for increasing road safety.