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Research and evidence

Research shows the road safety cameras do improve driver behaviour and reduce accidents

The evidence

Speed and red-light cameras are important in changing driver behaviour. They not only encourage drivers to slow down and obey traffic signals, but research has found drivers who have received fines in the past are less likely to speed or run a red-light in the future.

Cameras were introduced on Victorian roads in the late 1980s and since then the number of lives lost annually has more than halved. Research by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has found evidence that cameras are in part responsible for this reduction.1  

In 2001-2002, a package of speed enforcement initiatives was introduced, including a 50 per cent increase in mobile camera hours, a decrease in speeding tolerance and the introduction of a 50 km/h urban speed limit.

In 2009, the number of lives lost on Victorian roads fell below 300 for the first time, to 290.

In 2015, the number of road tragedies decreased further to 252.

Victorian Auditor-General's Report - Road Safety Camera Program

The Auditor-General found that Victoria’s road safety camera program is clearly focused on saving lives and reducing road trauma in Victoria.

In August 2011, the Auditor-General published his performance report on Victoria’s Road Safety Camera Program.

The report found that Victoria’s speed and red-light cameras have proven to be a powerful tool in:

  • reducing speeds
  • cutting road trauma
  • changing driver behaviour.

Cameras, safer cars and better roads

By reducing speed, the severity of an accident can be significantly reduced and in many cases avoided.

Improvements in car safety such as electronic stability control, anti-lock breaking systems along with improvements in road design, have made Victorian roads safer. Despite these things there is well-documented evidence linking speeding and road trauma.

Safer vehicles do not protect other more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. For these people, a small reduction in vehicle speed could save their life in a collision.

On a 60 km/h road, research shows that for every increase of 5 km/h above the speed limit, the risk of being involved in a casualty crash doubles. Protect yourself and other road users by slowing down and obeying traffic signals.

1 See in particular MUARC reports 200 and 202.

Link Summary
Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) MUARC is  one of the world’s largest and most respected transport safety research centre. It provides research, reports, projects and safety information for all modes of transport, in the workplace, in the community and in the home.
MUARC report 200 - Speed enforcement research: principles learnt and implications for practice Provides a review of speed enforcement research and practical measures that can be used in planning for the future.
MUARC report 201 - The interaction between speed camera enforcement and speed-related mass media publicity in Victoria Looks at how speed camera enforcement and speed-related publicity relate to injury severity and risk of casualties in crashes. It investigates whether publicity and TAC advertising changes perceptions of speed enforcement and if this alters driving behaviour and perceived risk of being caught when speeding.
MUARC report 202 - Scientific basis for the strategic directions of the safety camera program in Victoria Provides a scientific case to support the development of a safety camera strategy.
MUARC report 224 - Public perceptions of Victorian speed enforcement initiatives Outlines the perceptions of Melburnians from two surveys that looked at new strategies and initiatives for speed limit enforcement. MUARC developed this report after assessing changes in public attitudes.
MUARC report 239 - Assessing community attitudes to speed limits: final report Investigates community attitudes across  Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania  towards speed limits, speeding and safety.
MUARC report 242 - The history and development of speed camera use Outlines the variation between the use of automated speed cameras across Australia, Britain and North America and the controversies associated with cameras.
MUARC report 261 - An evaluation of the default 50 km/h speed limit in Victoria Impacts and findings of incident reduction following the introduction of the 50 km/h urban speed limit.
MUARC report 267 - Overall impact during 2001-2004 of Victorian speed-related package

Evaluation of crash outcomes and the effectiveness of three speed enforcement initiatives introduced between December 2000 and July 2002.

The initiatives were:

  • More covert operations of mobile speed cameras, including flash-less operations
  • 50 per cent increase in speed camera operating hours
  • Lowering of the speed camera detection threshold.
MUARC report 276 - The impact of lowered speed limits in urban and metropolitan areas Outline of speed limit reduction, its impact on mobility and traffic system performance emphasising the relationship between speed and travel time. It also looks at vehicle speed, accident severity and speed management.
MUARC report 307 - Evaluation of the crash effects of Victoria's digital speed and red-light cameras Evaluated Melbourne digital speed and red-light cameras. The study found a 47% reduction in crashes on the intersection approach where a camera was installed, and a 26% reduction on the other intersection approaches.
Cochrane Collaboration - Speed cameras for the prevention of road traffic injuries and deaths Analyses the effectiveness of speed cameras and whether they reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.

 

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