50 new speed cameras have been put up in Toronto in recent months as part of the Vision Zero campaign to make the nation’s roads safer. But it would appear that some individuals aren’t keen on the prospect of being caught speeding, as four of them have been stolen. Despite a small number of local drivers clearly not liking them, there’s plenty of evidence to support installing speed cameras, as they can help drivers to stay safe on Toronto’s roads.
As you would hope, speed cameras reduce the average speed that motorists travel at. An analysis of 35 international studies concluded that speed cameras reduce average speeds by up to 15%. As speeding increases a driver’s chances of being involved in a collision and also affects how much control that a motorist has of their vehicle, it’s beneficial to have as many of them as possible on Toronto’s roads.
Fewer road accidents
The Ministry of Transportation reports that in 2018 there were 35,746 fatal and personal injury collisions in Toronto. These collisions are often the result of speeding drivers. When a road accident occurs due to speeding, drivers are typically faced with injuries, increased insurance premiums, damaged vehicles, and even legal battles. While legal assistance and damages can be claimed by the non-fault party, increasing the number of speed cameras on Toronto’s roads could make the city safer as a whole. A 14-year study conducted by the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) found that speed cameras reduce accidents by as much as 39%, so they are undoubtedly worth the investment.
A cost-effective solution
The alternative to having speed cameras on Toronto’s roads is hiring police officers to do the job. However, unlike speed cameras, humans are incapable of tracking the speed of every single vehicle, especially on busy roads. It’s also expensive to keep officers monitoring roads around-the-clock. But research from British Columbia has found that a $27 million per year Photo Radar Program, similar to the one that has just been installed in Toronto, yields financial benefits of $142 million and societal benefits of $115 million annually. So it’s fair to say speed cameras are worth their initial outlay.
The recent theft of several speed cameras in Toronto is disappointing, considering there’s so much support for their effectiveness. It’s therefore hoped that these cameras will be replaced as soon as possible and that unimpressed drivers will start to appreciate them for their true worth.