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Study indicates speed cameras could curb US road deaths

A study by Israeli and American researchers, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, says that reducing speed limits and extensive use of speed camera networks could significantly reduce the high number of road deaths in the United States..

The study was headed by Prof. Elihu Richter of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was jointly undertaken by a team from the Injury Prevention Center at the Braun Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine; the Department of Surgery & Trauma Center, Hadassah University Hospital; and the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

The study recommends a large-scale test of speed camera networks in the US, where small increases in travel speeds resulted in a sustained death toll of more than 42,000 road deaths per year in the 1990s.

Speed cameras for detecting and deterring high travel speeds on the roads have barely been used in the US. But in other countries, notably the UK, Australia and France, they have had a major impact on reducing road death tolls.

In the UK, for example, the installation of speed cameras, roundabouts (traffic circles) and other measures in the 1990s reduced the number of road deaths by 33.9%. The reduction of road deaths was similarly high in other countries where speed limits were reduced. Sweden experienced a 21% drop in fatal crashes, while the figure in Denmark dropped by 24%. In Victoria Australia, road death tolls have fallen by some 50% in the last 15 years. In Queensland, Australia, 2,500 speed cameras were introduced between 1997 and 2001, resulting in a 31% drop in fatal crashes.

The researchers found that following the introduction of speed cameras in the UK, the fall in case fatality the percentage of injured who are killed -- accounted entirely for the fall in road deaths. The authors ruled out an array of other suspect causes for the UK-US difference, including SUV's, trends in seat belt use, e
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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
97-22-588-2904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
20-Feb-2006


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