This paper discusses risk perception comparing drivers with and without fines for speeding. The research aimed to show the interaction between speeding laws and speeding behavior. Speeders' explanations for their behavior revealed important factors in the determination of risk perception: control (driver-centered), risk minimization (drivers claimed there was no risk involved in the way they speeded), self-confidence (they considered themselves good drivers and believed they were able to define what constitutes speeding), and lack of credibility in the institutions that manage traffic risks. Speeders display a cognitive construct of personal invulnerability combined with unrealistic optimism and overrated self-perception, along with an exaggerated perception of their control over the traffic setting, centered on their self-purported driving skills. No difference was found in risk perception between drivers in the two groups. There was no relationship between objective and perceived risks, since drivers from the two groups showed a generic perception of objective risks, but out-of-context in relation to the inherent potential for accidents at different speeds.
Traffic Accidents; Risk-Taking; Motor Vehicles