More Evidence That Speed Cameras Work

The evidence is clear: Speed cameras save lives.

Photo: PBOT via Bike Portland
Photo: PBOT via Bike Portland

Here’s the latest success story — an update from Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland on the city’s first speed camera, which was installed on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway last month:

Here are some facts about the BHH camera released by PBOT today:

  • Before the cameras were installed, an average 1,417 vehicles a day traveled 51 mph or faster, according to readings by a pneumatic tube laid across the roadway.
  • During the warning period from Aug. 24 to Sept. 18, an average 93 vehicles a day were found traveling 51 mph or faster — a 93.4 percent reduction from the tube count.
  • In the first week of the warning period, cameras recorded an average 115 violations a day. Violations dropped to an average 72 a day by the week of Sept. 12 to 18.

PBOT Director Leah Treat, who had to spearhead a change in Oregon law just to be able to install cameras like these, said, “For us to reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries, we need tools like these cameras.”

Thanks to the passage of HB 2621 last year the City of Portland can install speed cameras (PBOT calls them “safety cameras”) only on designated High Crash Corridors within Portland city limits. When someone is caught speeding by one of these cameras, the typical fine is $160. By law, that revenue must be spent to pay for the camera program or to make safety improvements along High Crash Corridors.

Think of all the collisions and injuries that could be prevented with more automated speed enforcement in Portland alone. It will be interesting to see further results as the program expands.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Cyclelicious responds to a Tennessee law professor’s outrageous assertion that drivers should have a right to run over protestors who stand in their way. Transport Providence writes that reducing local car taxes in Rhode Island may not be the best way to help low-income people. And The Political Environment reports that highway fatalities in Wisconsin are up after the state raised speed limits — and no one should be surprised.

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