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Directions in Highway Safety, Summer 2008 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Late Winter 2008 | Vol. 10 | No. 4

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New Research Demonstrates Speed Camera Effectiveness

New analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has provided further evidence that automated enforcement is effective at reducing speeds. The study reviewed the use of speed cameras in two different situations in different areas of the country.

Scottsdale, Arizona, has become the first U.S. locality to demonstrate the effectiveness of fixed speed cameras on a major highway, the busy Loop 101. Prior to the cameras' installation, 15 percent of drivers were driving faster than 75 mph, despite the posted limit of 65 mph. According to the new IIHS study, once the cameras were in place, the number of violators plunged to 1 to 2 percent. Further evidence of the success of the cameras comes for the Scottsdale 101 Program Evaluation, which estimates the total number of target crashes (non-peak period crashes) was reduced by about 54 percent.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, speed cameras are being used to enforce limits of 35 mph or less in residential areas and school zones. Since the installation of the cameras, the proportion of vehicles going more than 10 mph faster than the posted limits has fallen by 70 percent. Additionally, speeds have fallen by 39 percent on roads where signs were posted warning of overall enforcement but where cameras were not yet operational.

Speed Camera Photo

GHSA Chairman Chris Murphy praised the new IIHS study and commended Scottsdale and Montgomery County for their successful use of speed cameras. Murphy indicated in various media interviews that GHSA is hopeful that more jurisdictions will start using speed cameras, given the additional evidence of their effectiveness.

Increased speed camera usage got a shot in the arm in early February when Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell proposed funding a pilot project to install speed cameras on an area of I-95 that has a high fatality rate. These cameras would be the first deployed on Connecticut highways and could lead to other states installing them on other dangerous parts of I-95.