Some Surprises on How People Feel about Speed Cameras


The Weekly Industry News staff can’t resist this kind of story. Editor, Gary Wolcott is always getting caught by red light and speed cameras, so he hates them. Big time. So, naturally, he’s interested in how others feel about them. Apparently, those “others” are a bit kinder to the concept of someone other than the police catching you speeding.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently took a look at the use of speed cameras and found that 170 towns and cities around the country operate them in parts of their community. Legislation to operate automated enforcement systems (that’s what they’re officially called) are on the books in 15 states.

After looking at those statistics, Erie Insurance wanted to know what people think about the cameras. The results surprised our editor.

  • 49% approve of their use
  • 35% are opposed
  • 16% don’t care one way or another

    Erie Insurance VP of personal auto, Jon Bloom said 60% of those opposed to cameras said they are okay on roads where speeding or accidents are a real and documented problem. The 60% opposition also say they are also okay on a road loaded with pedestrians and bicyclists.

    As a company that sees tragic consequences of speeding, Erie Insurance commissioned this survey to draw attention to the fact that speeding is a huge problem, but its within our collective power to solve it,” Bloom said.Many lives could be saved if more drivers would simply follow the speed limit.”

    There’s more to Erie’s survey:

  • 33% find speed cameras to be a violation of privacy
  • 44% think the 33% are wrong and the use of speed cameras is appropriate
  • 54% find speed cameras a good tool to get drivers to obey speed limits
  • Not so says 23%

    Then there are those like the Weekly Industry News editor who — along with 53% of the opposition — is cynical about the real purpose behind the use of speed cameras. That criticism is they — most importantly — are a revenue stream for government and improving traffic safety is a secondary reason.

    Another caveat in the survey has to do with who gets ticketed.

  • 61% think tickets should only be issued to people driving 10mph over the speed limit

Whatever their use, we all, and WIN editor, Gary Wolcott, agree — as IIHS Vice President for Research Jessica Cicchinon says — speeding is a huge factor in the number of traffic deaths that happen in this country each year.

Cicchino says a quarter to a third of those deaths can be attributed to speed.

A properly constructed photo enforcement program is a proven effective tool to significantly reduce speeding and crashes, making the roads safer for everyone who uses them,” Cicchino said. Its an equitable and consistent way to enforce speed limits 24/7. Safety groups have developed an automated enforcement checklist to help communities implement programs successfully.”

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