The EU BestPoint project: Getting the best out of a demerit point system
Various kinds of demerit point systems have been developed and implemented in European countries, aimed at tackling repeat offences in road transport by acting as a deterrent and providing sanctioning. The impact of a demerit point system on the number of crashes is often reported to be significant, but temporary. The objective of the EU BestPoint project was to establish a set of recommended practices that would result in a more effective and sustainable contribution of demerit point systems to road safety. A high actual chance of losing the licence and a high perceived chance of losing the licence are basic prerequisites for the effective operation of demerit point systems. For measures applied within the context of a demerit point system, a four-step-approach is recommended: warning letter, driver improvement course, licence withdrawal, rehabilitation course. Further recommendations concern issues like points and offences, e.g. which offences should lead to points, target groups, and the administration of demerit point systems. The final result of the EU BestPoint project is a handbook (van Schagen & Machata, 2012) which provides a concise overview of all recommended practices. The presentation/paper outlines how sustainable safety improvements can be achieved if national demerit point systems are implemented and maintained according to the recommended practices. In addition, potential further steps towards an EU-wide demerit point system (cross-border exchange on points and/or offences) are presented.