June 7: It is not uncommon in the news to hear reports of the number of speed cameras deployed, the number of citations issued, or the number of dollars collected using automated traffic enforcement systems. Optotraffic certainly recognizes that these are valid bits of information, but we are more interested in longer term statistics. A County Councilman in Maryland recently noted that there has been an actual change in driver behavior since cameras were deployed — particularly around schools. Likewise, the Police Chief in Washington, DC noted that traffic fatalities declined by 76 percent after automated systems were installed. That’s the real news!
May 13: Like everyone else we appreciate compliments. In particular we like hearing from our law enforcement partners, such as this note we recently received from the Police Chief in New Miami, Ohio.
“We chose Optotraffic to help our modest police department enhance the safety of our Village. Yet, with their assistance and expertise, we not only have accomplished that goal but we have achieved an unanticipated culture of safety in our entire community. We simply could not have done that without them.”
May 7: Recently, the well-respected Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a public opinion survey about red-light and speed cameras in Washington, DC, which has aggressive enforcement and relatively high fines. Here’s the link to the study: http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr042513.html
Some highlights of the findings:
- 87% favor red-light camera enforcement and 76% support speed camera enforcement.
- Just over half support adding cameras at stop signs and 47% support adding cameras at crosswalks. The percentages are much higher, however, among individuals who generally walk rather than drive.
- 58% of the people surveyed had actually received citations generated by automated systems – primarily speed cameras. Of that number, 59% of people who received citations acknowledge that the citation was deserved.
February 12: The Village of Elmwood Place is a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Village officials and police knew they had a serious speeding problem – particularly near the Village elementary school and through residential neighborhoods.
The Village contacted Optotraffic to explore our company’s portable speed camera solution. The results speak for themselves.
During the initial few days of speed camera enforcement, 39 percent of the cars passing the school were exceeding the speed limit despite the Village having posted signs that speed cameras were being used and following a two-week warning period. After three months, however, the situation improved dramatically. When last measured, only 8 percent of vehicles passing the school are speeding.
The results were just as dramatic in residential neighborhoods where some streets were used as shortcuts by Cincinnati commuters. In the first days of enforcement on a residential street, nearly 73 percent of vehicles were exceeding the speed limit – again despite warnings and signage. That rate is now down to just over 18 percent.
December 11: The good people at the National Center for Safe Routes to School and the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center recently garnered some well-deserved recognition. The National Center has received a Harvard Bright Ideas in Government award for its efforts to engage communities in school travel data collection and, in turn, to make program decisions based on this collected information. The UNC Center is the information clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program, which encourages children to safely walk and bicycle to school. Optotraffic’s primary focus is making school zones safer and we know from our own data collection that reducing speeds around schools also reduces collisions, injuries and deaths.
August 14: Reductions in deaths and injuries when speed cameras are deployed aren’t limited to the USA. In a report issued by the Scottish government, titled Key Scottish Safety Camera Statistics for 2011, serious injuries and fatalities in Scotland dropped by almost two thirds following the introduction of speed cameras. The number of fatalities and injuries were monitored across 166 sites before and after the introduction of speed cameras, with the number of incidents falling from 92 to 36 during the study period. Total injury numbers fell to 684 from a previous count of 1,400 during the study.
April 2: Optotraffic is currently deploying the largest array of portable speed cameras in the U.S. in Prince George’s County, Maryland. We were pleased to see more dramatic proof that our cameras reduce speeding in school zones. The Police Department reports that in a comparison of a dozen deployments in January and February this year, speeding citations fell an average of 42.58 percent; from a low of 19 percent to a high of 75 percent! When drivers know that speed cameras are present, they simply slow down and that’s good for the school kids, crossing guards and the entire community.
January 24: A Baltimore Sun editorial recently presented a very cogent argument for speed cameras in work zones. The piece pointed out that speed reduction is not only important for the workers in the zone, but that work areas themselves are often dangerous for drivers. Here is a link to that editorial: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-cameras-20111227,0,55388,print.story. Optotraffic can confidently predict that there will be a dramatic improvement in safety in these work zones.