Auto and Road User Journal
April 30, 1997|
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TranSafety's free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and highway safety publications catalog. See our free consumer journal for automobile and road users, three subscription journals on road maintenance, engineering, and injury litigation, and a highway safety publications catalog.
Norway Finds Speed Cameras Help Reduce Injury Crashes
(from March 22, 1997 Status Report of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
Speed cameras have reduced injury crashes by 20 percent on sections of rural roads in Norway where the cameras are in place, a new study from Norway's Institute of Transport Economics indicates.
Norway has used speed cameras, also called photo radar, since 1988 to enforce speed limits. Housed in boxes mounted on poles alongside roadways, speed cameras use a low-powered doppler radar sensor to detect speeding vehicles and trigger a motor- driven camera and flash unit to photograph vehicles traveling faster than a set speed. The speed typically is slightly above the posted limit 90 kilometers per hour, for example, if the speed limit is 80 kilometers.
The Institute of Transport Economics study analyzes 64 sections of roadway where speed cameras have been used since at least the end of 1995. The roads are all rural and 2-lane, and the sections studied are 1-2 kilometers long. Controlling for other factors, the study concludes that speed cameras prevented about 62 injury crashes per year on all 64 road sections combined.
The study does not assess speed cameras' effect on vehicle travel speeds because data on speeds before the cameras were installed were not available.
There are 150 speed camera boxes located throughout Norway, but only up to 36 of them at any one time actually house cameras, according to study author Rune Elvik of the Institute of Transport Economics. Signs warn drivers about speed camera locations but don't indicate which ones are active.
Cameras photograph vehicles from the front, and pictures clearly show vehicle license plate numbers and drivers' faces. Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners. If they deny they were driving, they must identify the drivers to police so the actual culprits can be ticketed.
Results of this study mirror previous study findings showing positive benefits of speed cameras in Norway and other countries (see Status Report, Vol. 30, No. 5, June 3, 1995.)
Speed cameras also are used in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and on a limited basis in the United States.
For a copy of "The Effects on Accidents of Automatic Speed Enforcement in Norway" by Rune Elvik, write: Institute of Transport Economics, P.O. Box 6110, Etterstad N-602, Oslo, Norway.