Half of Sweden's motorists are exceeding posted limits, and if they think they're being watched on radar, one-fifth continue speeding anyway.
A series of traffic speed checkpoints set up by the National Association of Motorists reveals that every other Swede regularly exceeds the posted highway speed limits.
When the electronic sensors were out of drivers' field of view, more than half of the 5,000 motorists who were monitored in Sweden at 19 locations throughout the country drove too fast past hidden speed traps. On the other hand, when motorists saw that their velocity was being recorded by the automobile club, only one in five disobeyed the speed limits.
"When we made the checkpoints visible, the flow of traffic became much calmer, and almost twice as many motorists respect the speed limits. The conclusion that we draw from the survey entails that having more visible police presence on the highways would very greatly affect the number of speeders," says Niklas Stavegård, Road Safety Officer at the independent motoring association.
According to Stavegård's calculations, the occurrence of speed law violations is so seldom punished that, considering driving statistics, an average motorist in Sweden risks receiving a ticket only once every thirty years.
With little success so far, the auto club has petitioned the government to create a separately dedicated corps of highway police that handle traffic situations and control throughout the country. Currently, since police activities are controlled by counties, the officers frequently jump from one area of law enforcement to another, and traffic control is seldom the most prioritized activity.