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Could Speed Cameras Increase Accident Rates?

Traffic cops in countries all around the world like to try to prevent things like speeding and running red lights by installing traffic cameras. However, is this what they actually do? Apparently the installation of traffic cameras can lead to an increase in car accidents as was found at a few intersections in New South Wales, Australia. This effect is also found in England, as can be seen on this video: Could it be the same in South Africa? Is this something that car insurance companies need to take into account when working out premiums?

If you were to take a look at how people normally drive and how their driving habits change when they are approaching a known traffic camera you will notice that there is quite a large change. They will generally drive slower and be more inclined to stop at an intersection when the light is on orange instead of racing through as they normally would. They also tend to spend a lot more time watching their speedometers instead of the cars in front of them. these changes in driving style do not happen gradually as they approach the camera but rather suddenly and may catch other drivers unawares thus causing an increase in the number of bumper bashings that occur at or near the traffic camera.

Of course, small changes in driving behaviour will not likely cause the car accident rate to increase but large changes that occur suddenly may well do so. If you are in an area where there are traffic cameras installed ensure that you pay more attention to what other drivers are doing and obey the speed limit. Do not keep your attention on the speedometer the entire time, rather adjust your speed early on and then maintain a constant speed so that you have the ability to watch other road users instead of having to watch your speedometer.
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