In a report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), researchers in Montgomery County, VA, say the presence of speed-cameras in the area reduced the likelihood of an incapacitating or fatal crash by 19.4 percent. Projecting the results across the entire United States, the nonprofit organization says speed cameras could prevent roughly 21,000 incapacitating or fatal injuries each year. It’s said that speeding is a factor in about a third of all traffic fatalities in the United States.
IIHS president Adrian Lund, says “We hope this research will help energize the discussion around speed. We’re all accustomed to seeing posted limits ignored, but it’s a mistake to think nothing can be done about it. Automated enforcement is one of the tools we have at our disposal.”
The IIHS says that the results show that speed-cameras can yield long-term safety benefits and are advocating for more speed-cameras and more photo radar stations.
Not everyone is jumping for joy, it seems. Automated enforcement has its fair share of supporters but also its fair share of naysayers. A series of scandals, accusations of profiteering, and studies that cast doubt on the effectiveness of automated enforcement have cast the shadow of doubt and skepticism on the effectiveness, accuracy and legality of these systems.
Motorists in the U.S. are divided with their feelings towards automated enforcement. Executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Jonathan Adkins, says that automated enforcement can be effective at reducing deaths and fatalities if the programs are administered in a transparent way. He says, “When cameras are placed in areas with a demonstrated history of crashes and their locations are heavily publicized, people will support the programs. “If the public feels the cameras are there only for revenue, the programs will be doomed”
With all the focus on distracted driving nowadays, the IIHS report says cellphone distractions may be concerning, but speeding remains a common killer. The report concluded communities should consider automated enforcement just one more way to keep their roads safer.