A landmark study has found that despite the public's perception that road safety cameras are merely revenue raising devices, they significantly reduce road accidents and so save Victoria millions of dollars annually in associated crash costs.
The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) study found that fixed digital speed and red light (FDSRL) cameras caused a decrease in casualty crashes of between 26 and 47 per cent, depending on vehicle approach, in the areas immediately surrounding their placement.
This saves the community the costs associated with medical treatment, property damage and lost productivity caused by road accidents.
Dr. Stuart Newstead and Ms. Laurie Budd of MUARC analyzed 87 of Victoria's 175 FDSRL cameras at intersections located across the state last year, comparing the crash rates before and after the installation of the cameras with those at comparable interstections without the cameras.
"This is the first time that the effectiveness of FDSRL cameras, a relatively new form of road rule enforcement, has been examined, " said Dr. Newstead.
"Across the areas we examined, the cameras led to 17 fewer crashes causing death, and 39 fewer crashes causing minor injuries each year.
"We estimate that this reduction represents at least $8 million in crash cost savings each year.
"The results speak for themselves - these cameras have proved their worth in reducing crashes resulting from speeding and red light running at dangerous intersections.
"Given that less than half the FDSRL cameras in the state were analysed in depth, you would expect both the road safety benefits and the consequent savings to the community to be even greater."
The study results informed the Victorian Auditor General's report, released last week, which concluded that cameras were of benefit to the community in terms of reducing the road toll.
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The full report, Evaluation of the Crash Effects of Victoria's Fixed Digital Speed Cameras can be accessed at the MUARC website.