Study: Speed Cameras Save Lives

Data from Chicago reaffirms the efficacy of speed cameras at reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

January 12, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


A recent analysis of Chicago's speed camera program shows that, while the number of crashes increased between the study periods of 2012-2013 and 2018-2019, "the increases at cam locations were significantly lower than those experienced throughout the city as a whole." According to John Greenfield, this points to the effectiveness of speed cameras in changing driver behavior and reducing fatal crashes and injuries.

The study showed that "Fatal or serious injury crashes increased only 2 percent near speed cameras between 2012-13 and 2018-19, as compared to a 21 percent increase citywide," while overall crash totals increased by just one percent compared to 25 percent citywide. Greenfield concludes that, based on the data, "The cameras are doing their job by keeping serious and fatal crash numbers in the safety zones relatively low compared to those in other parts of the city, preventing life-changing injuries and deaths."

Despite this study and similar evidence from other places, speed cameras, also known as automated traffic enforcement, have encountered opposition from lawmakers who cite concerns about corruption, unequal enforcement, and civil rights violations. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of red-light cameras fell by a fifth, even as red light runners killed more people than in previous years.

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