Although many drivers dislike the idea of speed cameras, a study of international research showed on Wednesday that this kind of monitoring of roads does cut the number of traffic injuries and deaths. The World Health Organization has already predicted that by 2020, road crashes will move to third from ninth in the world ranking of burden of disease. This means that any measure that can bring the numbers down may be considered seriously. Each year about 1.2 million people are killed in traffic accidents and between 20 and 50 million injured or disabled.
The study was conducted by Australia's University of Queensland. They analyzed 35 studies from Australia, the United States, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Britain, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway and saw the usefulness of speed cameras in preventing accidents.
Collated findings from all the studies showed that speed cameras cut the average speed by 1-15 percent and the percentage of vehicles that exceeded local speed limits between 14 percent and 65 percent. The numbers of crashes in the areas of the cameras also fell by between 8 percent and 49 percent, while fatal or serious injury crashes reduced by between 11 percent and 44 percent.
Researcher Cecilia Wilson of the UQ Centre on National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine said, “While there is variation in the results, the overall finding is clear - speed cameras do reduce injuries and deaths…Even though some of the studies were not conducted as carefully as others, the consistency in the way that vehicle speeds, crashes, road traffic injuries and deaths all reduced in places where speed cameras were operating shows that these cameras do a good job.” She explained that the studies were not from low-income countries where most road traffic crashes occur and this could have skewed the results to some extent. However speed cameras do have an impact agree experts.
Researchers say, “Speed cameras used for road section control, which measure average speed over distance, together with related emerging technologies arguably have the potential to favorably influence speeding behavior and thus enhance road safety.”