ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is releasing two new evaluations of the effectiveness of speed camera enforcement in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Before the City of Scottsdale kicked off a pilot speed-camera enforcement program, 15 percent of drivers were traveling faster than 75 mph on sections of a busy urban freeway with a 65 mph posted limit. Once the cameras were in place on Loop 101, the number of violators plunged to 1-2 percent. What's more, speed violations fell on the same freeway 25 miles outside of the enforcement area. Surveys also indicate that speed cameras garnered the support of local drivers. "These results show how the combination of highly visible warning messages and camera enforcement deters speed violations," says Richard Retting, Institute senior transportation engineer and the study's lead author. "The program wasn't about tickets. The goal was to drive down violations by sending a message that speeding is unacceptable. Scottsdale's program is on of the best examples we've seen of how to accomplish that." By comparing Loop 101 speeds with speeds on nearby freeways that didn't have the cameras, researchers concluded that the Scottsdale program was associated with as much as a 95 percent decrease in the odds that drivers would surpass 75 mph. Previous studies in Europe and Australia, where speed cameras are widely used, have reported 50-60 percent reductions in the proportions of vehicles exceeding speed limits by more than 9 mph. Speed violations of 11 mph or more also declined on another section of Loop 101 about 25 miles away in Glendale, Arizona, where cameras weren't used. Montgomery County, Maryland, is using speed cameras to enforce limits of 35 mph or less in residential areas and school zones. An Institute evaluation indicates this is helping to reduce travel speeds. Researchers measured speeds 6 months before and 6 months after camera enforcement began in May 2007 in this Washington, DC suburb. The proportion of vehicles going more than 10 mph faster than posted limits fell by 70 percent on roads where cameras were operational and by 39 percent on roads with signs warning of enforcement but where cameras weren't yet in place. An Institute survey 6 months after the kickoff found that 74 percent of county respondents considered speeding a problem on residential streets, 60 percent were aware of camera enforcement, and 62 percent favored it. This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information, visit http://www.newswise.com.
SOURCE Insurance Institute for Highway Safety