Speed Cameras: Coming to a Road Near You?
Last week, detailed research from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety demonstrated a new program aimed at saving thousands of American lives each year. The idea is simple- end speeding on our roads. Speed is a factor in over 50% of all fatal crash reports. Curtail speeding, and you reduce the likelihood of a deadly crash.
The program presented in this research concerned a system of portable, automated speed cameras. These cameras have been utilized in Montgomery County, Maryland since 2007. Since their implementation, the cameras have been credited with reducing the urge to drive 10mph above the posted speed limit by 59% when compared with counties not using these same devices. The study concludes that if these cameras were introduced nationwide, more than 21,000 deaths or catastrophic injuries could be prevented.
In Montgomery County, many of cameras were moved frequently along the most well-traveled corridors to keep drivers guessing about where they could be caught going a little too fast. This study has shown that automated speeding enforcement can be an extremely effective deterrent to speeding. In fact, 76% of the drivers surveyed admitted that the cameras had forced them to slow down.
Predictably, though, the study has brought out its fair share of detractors. Some say the cameras are only being used to boost revenue and have little to do with safety. Others may think it’s a little too much “Big Brother” watching their driving. Indeed, twelve state legislatures have already voted to ban the use of speed cameras.
Still, this study’s findings are hard to ignore, and it’s time we all took a look at these cameras as a serious tool in the fight to increase safety on our roads. To date, only 138 jurisdictions in the United States have employed these cameras, but we can hope that many more will be on board in the wake of this new data.