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UK Study Shows Speed Cameras Increase Dangerous Driving Behavior

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You know how police and cities place speed cameras around to make the streets safer? According to a study by Wunelli (a subsidiary of LexisNexis) in the UK, this is a little awkward, because speed cameras tend to cause unsafe driving behavior.

The study looked at how 5,353 vehicles (equipped with monitoring devices) performed near 5,500 speed camera locations over the course of three years, and identified the number of hard stops within 55 yards of the camera versus more calm stops starting between 110 and 55 yards away.

The number of hard stops triple or increased all the way up to 11 times when the car was close to the cameras, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation of panic braking, especially for out-of-town drivers who would not be watching for cars suddenly slowing for the cameras.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions senior vice president Ash Hassib said, “We are building upon these insights to show the potentially dangerous effects of certain speed deterrents on driving behaviour as speeding drivers take erratic measures, such as braking harshly, to avoid being penalized.”

This isn’t the first such study from the UK that shows that speed cameras can be dangerous—a Department of Transport-funded study from 2005 showed that accidents increased by a total of 55% in construction zones where police used speed camera vans.

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