Speeding remains one of our nation’s most serious roadway problems. New York City reports good results and expands its utilization of speed safety cameras.  -  Photo:  Denny Müller/Unsplash

Speeding remains one of our nation’s most serious roadway problems. New York City reports good results and expands its utilization of speed safety cameras.

Photo: Denny Müller/Unsplash

Some 9,478 people lost their lives in speeding-related crashes in the U.S. in 2019 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Moreover, research shows that during the early days of the pandemic there was an uptick in the risky driving behavior, and experts say the speeding trend seems to have stuck.

The fact is, speeding remains one of our nation’s most serious roadway problems and many safety advocates and traffic officials are searching for innovative ways to combat the problem. Speed safety cameras — a type of automated enforcement technology used to detect and deter speeders — are among the countermeasures to consider.

“According to NHTSA’s recently released fatality data, nearly 43,000 Americans were tragically killed on roads in 2021 — a jump of more than 10% over the year prior,” said David Roberts, president and CEO, Verra Mobility. “With traffic deaths reaching levels not seen since 2006, drivers are facing an unparalleled crisis on today’s modern roads.”

Verra Mobility is focused on promoting enhanced safety for all road users, particularly for vulnerable users like pedestrians and bicyclists. These road users are better protected by intelligent road safety cameras, which are effective at monitoring, capturing, and changing unsafe driving behaviors, Roberts noted. 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acknowledges that enforcing safe speeds has been challenging. On its website, FHWA states “Agencies can use speed safety cameras as an effective and reliable technology to supplement more traditional methods of enforcement, engineering measures, and education to alter the social norms of speeding.” Speed safety cameras use speed measurement devices to detect speeding and capture photographic or video evidence of vehicles that are violating a set speed threshold.

Utilizing the Technology, Measuring Effectiveness

Presently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that permit the use of speed cameras while eight states have passed laws that prohibit the use of speed cameras, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

Several municipalities have measured the effectiveness of speed cameras to reduce speeding and crashes and deter future violators. New York City is an interesting case in point.

Recently, state lawmakers and city leaders reached an agreement to make speed cameras in New York City operational 24/7. Current law mandates that cameras turn off between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., as well as the entire weekend, according to a Spectrum News/NY1 report.

However, an analysis of 2020 traffic deaths in the five boroughs found that nearly 40% of non-highway traffic fatalities occurred in speed safety camera zones during the hours in which they were non-operational, according to the report.

Moreover, the New York City Mayor’s Office said in a press release that speed cameras have been proven to be effective in reducing speeding behavior and deterring repeat offenses. In 2021, most vehicles that received one violation did not receive a second.

In addition, as of December 2020, speeding at New York City camera locations during hours of operation had dropped by an average of 72%, according to Spectrum News. 

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