A New Checklist Will Help Improve Programs to Curb Dangerous Driving
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When you’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you’re driving a machine that weighs thousands of pounds. That’s why car insurance can be so costly if you’re a risky driver. Cars can do terrible damage to people and property if they’re driven recklessly.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that automated enforcement can curb dangerous driving. The IIHS, working with other groups, has issued a checklist that the organization hopes will help to improve programs aimed at minimizing dangerous driving.
IIHS hopes to help educate motorists about safer driving practices, with the goal of making the streets safer for everyone—including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
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Automated enforcement tools can reduce accidents
The IIHS reports that red light and speed cameras are powerful tools that have reduced traffic accidents in areas where they’re used.
More than a quarter of all traffic deaths, 9,478 deaths, in 2019 were caused by speed-related crashes. Running red lights led to hundreds of deaths in 2019, and 143,000 injuries, making it another focus for road safety advocates.
IIHS president David Harkey says the research “has shown consistently that automated enforcement curbs dangerous driving behaviors and reduces crashes.” Even though these devices are proven to reduce dangerous driving, they’re not used as much as they could be.
What is the automated enforcement program checklist?
This new checklist builds on one focused on red light cameras that was introduced in 2018. The new automated enforcement checklist was developed by AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Governors Highway Safety Association, IIHS, and the National Safety Council.
The goal of the checklist is to provide a road map for communities across America to use when they decide to build or expand automated enforcement programs. The checklist provides a rundown of the best ways to use red light and speed cameras that receive public support. Programs like these usually fall apart when they are seen simply as a way to generate revenue for local governments.
Recommendations from the checklist
The checklist addresses common concerns that members of the public have about traffic cameras. The document emphasizes transparency and community engagement so that the public sees safety as the number one priority of the program.
Having community members involved in the planning and implementation of automated enforcement can help leaders focus on safety. If the program works, revenue should decline over time since less drivers will violate speed limits or run red lights.
Because public input is essential to the cameras being accepted, the checklist recommends that the community create an advisory committee. This should consist of law enforcement, advocates, school officials, and residents from throughout the community. Dangerous driving affects everyone, and automated enforcement should be a program that people trust to consider their safety first.
Other safety tools are needed to reduce dangerous driving
Even though automated enforcement can be important in reducing dangerous driving, it’s not the only tool. It’s best used as part of other initiatives like roadway maintenance and design improvements to ensure that residents practice safe driving.