A newly released study could be the
justification the state Legislature needs to add speed enforcement cameras to
North Carolina roadways.
According to the report, areas with the
enforcement cameras had a 55 percent reduction in speeds of drivers traveling10
miles over the speed limit, as well as a 12 percent reduction in the number of
The study – which was conducted by the Institute
for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University – was initiated by the North Carolina
Governor’s Highway Safety Program, after a bill from the North Carolina House
of Representatives, HB562, was signed into law. It called for further research
into the potential safety benefits of speed cameras.
According to the study, 14 sites with high-severity accident rates were
set up with cameras in Charlotte, NC, to collect data. The sites were chosen by
the Charlotte Department of Transportation and the Charlotte Police Department,
and were compared to 11 more sites that did not use the cameras.
The project began in October 2003 – about four months after HB562 was
approved – and was conducted in cooperation with the Charlotte Department of
Transportation and the Charlotte Police Department.
In addition to speed cameras, red light cameras were also studied in
Raleigh from 2002 to 2004. During that time, researchers found that collisions
were reduced by 17 percent, red light running-related collisions were reduced
by 22 percent and rear end collisions were reduced by 25 percent.
Although the study found significant reductions in crashes and speed
when cameras were used, not all research on the technology has been positive. According to a November report in The Coloradoan of Fort Collins, installing
red-light cameras in Fort Collins, CO, increased the number of accidents at the
According to The
Coloradoan, the accident rate per 1 million vehicles at the corner
of Drake Road and College Avenue has nearly doubled since 1994, despite
traffic-enforcement cameras that were installed at the intersection in 1997.
Australia, a country that has pioneered the
use of the technology on its roadways, has also seen problems. According to the Herald Sun of Melbourne, hundreds
of drivers traveling on the Hume Highway at Somerset on July 21 were issued
tickets for exceeding 80 km/hr (roughly 50 mph).
The problem? Speed limits on the road are 90
km/hr – approximately 55 mph – meaning many of the drivers were moving at or
below the legal speed.
Apparently, the technician responsible for
calibrating the cameras set the speed at 10 km/hr too slow. Victoria police
were expected to send withdrawal notices to all of the falsely ticketed
drivers, the Herald Sun reported.