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Traffic fatalities continue to climb


The increase in traffic-related deaths over the past couple of years remains a problem in search of a solution. Reckless and dangerous driving became the rule, not the exception during a worldwide pandemic. Vehicles were scarce on roads throughout the United States. Many of those who chose to leave their house and travel did so with reckless abandon, putting lives at risk of injuries and death.

Solutions at the federal level

New federal guidelines aimed at deterring drivers from putting the pedal to the medal may take various forms in a broad-based, “safe system” approach that could include:

  • Improved road designs
  • Reduced speed limits
  • Increased motor vehicle safety regulations

In addition to those measures, the Federal Highway Administration sees speed cameras as a way to combat hazardous driving and make streets, highways, and bridges both safe and accessible.

Government data asserts that more than one-quarter of traffic deaths are caused by speed-related crashes. Speed cameras would purportedly cut those numbers in half. Auto safety groups continue to claim that this form of automated traffic enforcement is reliable and equitable, not to mention avoiding confrontations between law enforcement and drivers.

California currently has “red light” cameras. Nationally, drivers running red lights are responsible for 28% of deadly collisions at intersections with traffic signals. Close to half of those crashes don’t kill the negligent driver, but drivers and passengers in other vehicles.

The turn to more aggressive and dangerous driving that accelerated in 2020 may be a hard habit for many to break. The effectiveness of various initiatives, including speed cameras, in stopping engrained behavior may not be as effective as government leaders believe.