Speed cameras save lives

PLACING speed cameras on our roads is reducing the number of road traffic injuries and deaths, according to a new study by University of Queensland.

The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2020 road traffic crashes will have moved from ninth to third in the causes of poor health,” lead researcher Cecilia Wilson from the UQ Centre on National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine said.

“Speed cameras are one of the measures that authorities can use to reduce traffic speed in the hope of preventing road injuries.”

The research team identified 35 relevant studies.

“While there is variation in the results, the overall finding is clear – speed cameras do reduce injuries and deaths,” Cecilia Wilson said.

“Compared with controls, the average speed fell as did the percentage of vehicles that exceeded local speed limits. The numbers of crashes in the areas of the cameras also fell, as did the numbers of people killed or injured.

Speed is a critical issue. Driving faster than the posted limit, or too fast for the prevailing conditions, increases the risk of crashes, and also the chance of those crashes causing more serious injury.”

She said that none of these studies were carried out in low-income countries, where most road traffic crashes occur, and called for further research in these settings.

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