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Do Speed Cameras Save Lives?

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  • Cheng Keat Tang

Abstract

I evaluate whether speed enforcement cameras reduce the number and severity of traffic accidents by penalizing drivers for exceeding speed limits. Relying on micro data on accidents and speed cameras across Great Britain, I find that installing these devices significantly enhance road safety. Putting another 1,000 cameras reduce around 1130 collisions, 330 serious injuries, and save 190 lives annually, generating net benefits of around £21 million. However, these effects are highly localised around the camera and dissipate over distance, and there is suggestive evidence of more collisions away from the camera, illustrating the possible limitations associated with fixed speed cameras.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng Keat Tang, 2017. "Do Speed Cameras Save Lives?," SERC Discussion Papers 0221, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0221
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    File URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/textonly/SERC/publications/download/sercdp0221.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2013. "Regression Analysis of Count Data," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107667273.
    2. van Benthem, Arthur, 2015. "What is the optimal speed limit on freeways?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 44-62.
    3. Benjamin Hansen, 2015. "Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1581-1617, April.
    4. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 226-267, February.
    5. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "State alcohol policies, teen drinking and traffic fatalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 289-315, May.
    6. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2003. "The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 828-843, November.
    7. Rahi Abouk & Scott Adams, 2013. "Texting Bans and Fatal Accidents on Roadways: Do They Work? Or Do Drivers Just React to Announcements of Bans?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 179-199, April.
    8. Gregory DeAngelo & Benjamin Hansen, 2014. "Life and Death in the Fast Lane: Police Enforcement and Traffic Fatalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 231-257, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    accidents; injuries; fatalities; speed camera; speeding;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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