Northwest Valley Speed Cameras Ineffective

I’m a little late in responding to this AZ Republic article, but I couldn’t let it go.

The article trumpets success because people are slowing down. But the details only show that citations are going down. Are people really slowing down, or are people wising up? It appears to me that people are simply slowing for the 1/2 mile radius surrounding the cameras, and then resuming speed. Rather than having a constant, free flowing stream of traffic, the cameras are interrupting and disturbing the natural flow as people go from alert driving to focusing their eyes on their speedometer or hiding their face from the cameras. Which do you really think is safer? I’ll take the consistent free flowing traffic any day.

The article shows statistics for crashes, injuries, and fatalities back to 2003. The numbers appear to be raw numbers, and do not account for the reduction in traffic due to unemployment and the poor economy. Crashes are down, but not much from the low shown in 2003. Injuries are essentially the same for 2009 compared to 2003, 2005, and 2008, and are 9% higher than the number for 2004. Only 2006 and 2007 had higher numbers. For fatalities, there have been 0, but this is not the victory they would like you to believe. 3 other years had 1 fatality, and the maximum fatalities was 4 back in 2003. This years’ 0 shows not statistical improvement.

A real comparison would need to take into account traffic volumes. With the lower traffic volumes for 2009, we’d probably see that the accident rate is actually INCREASING! Regardless, it is VERY clear that the cameras are ineffective at improving safety. There are clearly no grounds to argue that the cameras have actually improved safety, and there are indications that the freeways are now LESS SAFE.

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