Scientists study speed camera efficacy

May 2, 2006

Australian research reviewers say "speed cameras" and other devices can cut vehicle accident rates by allowing officials to identify and charge speeders.

But review authors led by Cecilia Wilson of the University of Queensland noted many of the studies they examined are "weak," and that more intensive research is needed to definitively confirm the devices actually make drivers more careful.

Speed cameras are commonly found in nations such as Britain and Australia, but such cameras are less often used in the United States.

According to Rader, as of late 2005 speed cameras were in place in several cities in Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Ohio, as well as San Jose, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Washington, D.C.

By contrast, Rader said, at least 100 American cities use red-light cameras, which catch people ignoring traffic signals.

"In (the United States) running red lights is seen as more of a safety problem than speeding," he said. "The attitude toward speeding is a lot like what the attitude toward drinking and driving was 30 years ago: 'What's the big deal? Everybody does it.'"

The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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