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Monetary incentive could cut down on lead foot drivers

Sunday - 8/5/2012, 1:58pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Speeding can be dangerous, yet so many drivers do it on a regular basis to shave time off their commute.

Researchers recently tested the theory that giving drivers money to slow down would prevent them from putting the pedal to the metal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked 50 people to drive around in cars with GPS trackers to monitor their driving speed. Drivers who stayed within the posted speed limit for the entire week were given $25.

Some drivers were simply given a flashing notification telling them to slow down, while another set was penalized monetarily.

Every time the driver exceeded the speed limit by 5 to 8 mph, drivers lost 3 cents off the total. If they went over the speed limit by 9 mph or more, they lost 6 cents.

Those drivers given a monetary incentive stayed within the speed limit more often than the others.

The NHTSA research suggests insurance companies could use similar GPS-based systems to charge safer drivers less.

Speeding-related crashes killed 10,394 people in 2010, the latest year with numbers available, according to the NHTSA.

WTOP's Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow Max and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)