Speed Safety Cameras Key Tool in Changing Teen Driver Behavior

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released a report highlighting the dangers of speeding among teen drivers. The report finds that speeding is a primary cause of 33 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, a number that has increased by three percentage points over the last ten years. In addition, speeding contributed to 19,447 fatal crashes involving teen drivers between the years of 2000 and 2011.

In the report, GHSA recommends the use of automated speed safety cameras as one of the recommended tools for reducing teen speeding. The cameras augment the ability of police to detect speeding and serve as a key tool in improving teen driver behavior and saving young lives.

Speed camera technology has been successful at reducing overall speed and the number of speeding instances. For example, in Scottsdale, Arizona, six speed cameras located along a busy urban highway reduced average speeds by six miles per hour over nine months. In the same time period, the safety cameras also reduced the proportion of vehicles traveling 11 miles per hour or more over the speed limit by nearly 90 percent (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Additionally, six months after Washington D.C.’s speed safety camera enforcement commenced, the city experienced an 82 percent decrease in speeding and a 14 percent decrease in average vehicle speed at seven sites where cameras were installed (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

Speed safety cameras also reduce collisions, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways. For example, in the first nine months of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s speed camera program on freeways in metropolitan Phoenix, there were:

  • 20.4 percent fewer property damage collisions
  • 22.8 percent fewer injury collisions
  • 21.8 percent fewer fatal collisions, resulting in 13 fewer lives lost.

A recent IIHS survey found that established speed camera programs have garnered growing public support for their role in improving road safety. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in D.C., where the camera system has been in place for more than 10 years, favored using cameras to enforce laws against speeding violations. D.C. residents cited increasing safety, law enforcement when police aren’t present, and protecting pedestrians and bicyclists as their top reasons for their support of speed camera programs.


The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

California Announces Grants to Improve Traffic Safety
The California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency has approved 274 state and local applications to receive approximates $87 million in federally-funded traffic safety grants. The grant-funded programs will address impaired driving, seat belt and child safety seat use, distracted driving and law enforcement across the state. California roadway deaths decreased 37 percent from 2006 to 2010, but there has been a slight upturn in the last two years.
Source: Santa Clarita Valley Signal

New York State Legislature Approves Speed Cameras in NYC School Zones
The New York state legislature passed a bill allowing New York City to install 20 speed cameras in school zones for a five-year pilot program. “Speeding remains the single greatest contributing factor in traffic fatalities in New York City, and we have long advocated in Albany for the authority to install speed cameras to help save lives,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Speeding contributed to 81 fatal traffic crashes in New York City in 2012.
Source:  MyFoxNY.com

Atlantic City Police Decoys Catch Drivers Who Fail to Yield to Pedestrians
Police in the Atlantic City area are using decoys to catch motorists who don’t yield to pedestrians. Plainclothes officers are stationed at crosswalks while another officer is stationed nearby to watch for offenders who do not permit the undercover officers to cross. The program targets locations where pedestrian safety is a concern.
Source: Press of Atlantic City

Pennsylvania Town Uses Intersection Video to Evaluate Possible Red-Light Safety Camera Program
At a Police Committee meeting in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, commissioners viewed excerpts from 48 hours of intersection video along a major thoroughfare. Committee members saw multiple vehicles speeding through an intersection after the signal had turned red. Lower Merion is currently researching the need for a red-light safety camera program that could include up to 12 to 15 intersections.
Source: Main Line Media News

Federal Railroad Association Releases New Rail Crossing Locator App
The Federal Railroad Association (FRA) has released a new iOS app that allows users to access an inventory of all U.S. rail crossings. The app has information to improve neighborhood and travel safety, including whether nearby crossings are at-grade, above-grade, or below-grade and the type of traffic control device used at the crossing. The app also allows users to report information about grade crossings to the FRA, which will ensure that publicly available information is accurate and up-to-date. In 2012, highway-rail crossing collisions accounted for nearly 20 percent of all reportable rail accidents and incidents.
Source: Fast Lane


The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly video series aims to raise awareness about the dangers of red-light running by highlighting crashes and close calls in intersections caused by reckless red-light runners. The videos are also available on Twitter @SaferRoadsUSA and YouTube youtube.com/SaferRoadsUSA.

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The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street Q&A series features NCSR partners, industry leaders and other notable transportation organizations who are working towards the collaborative goal of safer roads. 

Joseph M. Fiocco brings more than 25 years of experience to his firm, Fiocco Engineering, LLC, which specializes in highway safety and traffic engineering. A registered professional engineer in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania,  Joseph also serves as the appointed traffic engineer for Lower Southampton Township in Bucks County, Pa. Since 2010, his firm has worked with a large network of public and private sector engineering partners in the Delaware Valley to develop safer, more efficient roads. Safety Street had the chance to talk to him about ways engineering and technology are making our roads safer.

Safety Street: Is traffic safety a problem in your community?

Joseph Fiocco: I think the better question to ask is: are we doing everything we can to reduce crashes on Pennsylvania roads? Last year in Pennsylvania, 1,310 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions. Of these, 65 were killed in Bucks County, where I live and work. Clearly, there is much more we can do.

Safety Street: Can you tell us a little bit about your role and experience in traffic safety?

Joseph Fiocco: I’ve completed hundreds of highway safety studies throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These safety studies ranged anywhere from investigations into a single vehicle crashto complete corridor studies. I’ve done road safety audits and traffic impact studies. I’ve also designed a number of traffic signals, so I understand the costs associated with the design, construction and maintenance of these controls.  The goal is to maximize safety and minimize delays, while staying conscientious  of what is reasonable and affordable. For many municipalities these days, resources are limited and the biggest challenge for any community project is funding.

Safety Street: Pennsylvania recently passed a law that allows more municipalities to consider red-light cameras at dangerous intersections.  As an engineer, do you see advantages from these cameras?

Joseph Fiocco: I have extensive experience with traffic signals, multi-way stop analyses and traffic control designs. Red-light cameras have been proven to reduce illegal red-light running and improve safety at intersections. In Bucks County, three communities (Falls, Middletown and Warminster Townships) are among the municipalities now eligible to consider red-light cameras in Pennsylvania. I recommend these municipalities give the safety devices a serious look. Anything that has the potential to save lives at a reasonable cost should be considered.

Safety Street: Some people argue against safety cameras in favor of re-engineering. Is it either/or, or both? What are your thoughts?

Joseph Fiocco: There is no one, single answer. We should consider all the tools available when it comes to saving lives and reducing injuries.  Red-light safety cameras aren’t the answer to all of our road safety problems, but they definitely are a very cost-effective part of the solution. There’s also an added benefit for municipalities in terms of overall public safety that shouldn’t be ignored.  Police officers who previously had to sit and monitor an intersection in order to catch red-light running violators can now patrol nearby neighborhoods and increase the level of security for us all.

To learn more read Mr. Fiocco’s recent letter to the editor in the Bucks County Courier-Times.


The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

Waze App Tries to Balance “Social GPS” with Safe Driving Features
Waze, a “social GPS” app, brings interactivity to the driving experience – users can plug in traffic jams, road obstacles, and other roadway impediments to help others navigate to their destinations faster. However, road safety advocates are concerned by the app’s potential to distract drivers with a flurry of icons and notifications. To address these concerns, Waze has tried to make the app safer for drivers by disabling text input when it detects that a car is in motion and adding a hands-free option that uses voice commands.
Source:  New York Magazine

Study: 88 Percent of Cars Speeding in Brooklyn
A new study from the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has found that speeding is rampant in Brooklyn. Surveyors clocked the speed of cars on the streets of four Brooklyn neighborhoods and found that 88 percent of drivers were breaking the speed limit. During peak morning travel periods, 28 percent exceeded the speed limit by 10 mph or more. During peak evening hours, a slightly higher rate of 30 percent traveled at speeds more than 10 mph over the limit. The speeding study is part of a larger push by safety advocates and New York City officials to get traffic cameras installed around New York City.
Source: Transportation Nation

One in Nine U.S. Bridges in Need of Repair
A new report from Transportation for America finds that one in nine bridges are structurally deficient – a statistics that amounts to at least 66,405 bridges across the country. Each day, Americans take 260 million trips over structurally deficient bridges, according to the report. The structurally deficient bridges are 65 years old on average, and the Federal Highway Administration estimated that repairing them would cost $76 billion. Transportation for America recommends that repair of bridges and highways be made a national priority.
Source: USA Today

D.C. to Roll Out Over-Sized Truck Cameras
D.C. is rolling out a new system of traffic cameras designed to issue tickets to over-sized trucks driving on residential streets on which they don’t belong. Once the cameras are fully operational, they’ll issue $150 tickets every time they catch a violator. There are signs that warn trucks not to pass through residential neighborhoods where they cause traffic backups, disturb neighbors and rattle homes. However, the D.C. police and Department of Transportation receive complains about trucks ignoring these signs.
Source: NBC Washington

Road Safety Organization Publishes Best Practices for Young Drivers At Work
Road safety charity Brake has published two new reports for fleet managers on managing young driver risk. The guidance has been published alongside the a report focused on how young at-work drivers are managed. The guidelines and report provide insight into the risks posed by employing novice drivers and advice on how to minimize those risks and maximize the safety of the whole fleet. As at-work drivers of any age are up to 26% more likely to crash than other drivers, Brake says it is vital for fleet managers to take action to manage this high-risk, younger group.
Source: Fleet News


The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.