New IIHS Study Points to Cameras in Reducing Speeding

May 6, 2002

A new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and supported by new statistics from the Washington, D.C. police department, points to red light cameras as a tool to make drivers slow down.

Institute researchers measured travel speeds on seven D.C. streets before the cameras were installed and six months after deployment. The number of drivers traveling more than 10 mph over the speed limit dropped dramatically at every site, with reductions ranging from 38 to 89 percent.

As a comparison, researchers also measured speeds at eight sites in Baltimore, Md., where cameras are not used. Speeds there remained about the same or increased slightly.

Statistics from the D.C. police department bolster those findings.

Police statistics show that the percentage of vehicles aggressively speeding on D.C. streets and highways has declined by more than 58 percent since the photo radar program started in July 2001. During the July warning period, 31 percent of the vehicles monitored by photo radar exceeded the program’s speeding threshold. In March 2002—when a record number of 538,470 vehicles were monitored by photo radar—the figure had dropped to 13 percent.

Speeding is a major player in motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading cause of death for people under 34 years of age.

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