Will speed reduction reduce Road Deaths and Crashes?
Road traffic crashes are a major cause of death and disability. The speed at which a vehicle travels is an important determinant of injury; the faster the vehicle is travelling, the greater the energy inflicted on the occupants during a crash and the greater the injury. That is fact and logic.
Excessive speed (driving faster than the posted limit or too fast for the prevailing conditions) has been found to contribute to a substantial number of crashes. It is predicted that, if the number of speeding drivers is reduced, both the likelihood and severity of a crash will be lowered.
Therefore, interventions aimed at reducing traffic speed are considered essential to preventing road injuries and deaths.
The effect of speed cameras and automated devices
Are these devices an effective way to enforce safe speeds?
To evaluate the effectiveness of speed cameras, studies were done to analyse the effect of speed cameras on speeding, road traffic crashes, injuries and deaths by comparing what was happening in road areas before the introduction of speed cameras and after their introduction. Also by analysing what was happening in comparable road areas where no speed cameras were introduced.
All studies reporting speed outcomes reported a reduction in average speeds, post intervention with speed cameras. Twenty-eight studies measured the effect on crashes and found a lower number of crashes in the speed camera areas. For injury crashes, the decrease ranged between 8% to 50% and for crashes resulting in fatalities or serious injuries the reductions were in the range of 11% to 44%.
The studies of longer duration showed that these positive trends were either maintained or improved with time. Studies show that speed cameras are a worthwhile intervention for reducing the number of road traffic injuries and deaths.
More of these devices would then result in fewer crashes, right? Right for sure!