This paper investigates the effect of the social willingness to comply with the law on driver behavior and traffic fatalities. We analyze a panel of 15 European Union states for 1996-2002, a period for which consistent attitudinal data are available. Using corruption indices, we find that the social willingness to comply with the law has significant positive effects on traffic fatalities with an elasticity estimated between -0.207 and -0.217. Other significant factors are traffic exposure, economic growth, speed and alcohol consumption. We also find that, whatever benefits laws produce, differences in national traffic rules do not explain divergences in road safety. This result seems to indicate that willingness to comply matters more than legal specificity.International Review of Law and Economics 27/4, p. 385-408.