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National survey from Erie Insurance shows U.S. drivers divided over speed cameras

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Interest in photo enforcement may pick up steam as new infrastructure law permits states to use federal funds for speed cameras in work zones

ERIE, Pa. – Jan 24, 2022 – A recent survey commissioned by Erie Insurance finds that half of U.S. drivers support the use of speed cameras while more than a third oppose them – but many opponents would change their minds under certain conditions.

Speed cameras and red light cameras – also known as photo enforcement – are expected to gain more attention as the nation’s new infrastructure law is implemented. Under the $1.2 trillion landmark legislation, states will be able to use federal grant funds for speed camera programs in work zones, in addition to school zones which was already permitted. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is a contributing factor in one-quarter to one-third of all U.S. traffic deaths.

The Erie Insurance survey found one in every 10 drivers (11%) admitted to driving at extreme speeds (20 mph or more over the speed limit) during the early months of the pandemic, a problem which many safety advocates say continues despite a return to near pre-pandemic traffic volumes.

The survey found that half of drivers (49%) support speed cameras while 35% oppose them. It also discovered that nearly 60% of drivers who do not support or are neutral about speed cameras would support their installation on roads with a documented speeding or crash problem and on roads used frequently by pedestrians and bicycles.

“As a company that sees tragic consequences of speeding, Erie Insurance commissioned this survey to draw attention to the fact that speeding is a huge problem, but it’s within our collective power to solve it,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. “Many lives could be saved if more drivers would simply follow the speed limit.” 

The survey also found that:

According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 170 U.S. communities currently use speed cameras, and automated enforcement legislation is pending in 15 states. Speed cameras may become more prevalent with implementation of the new infrastructure law.

Interest in photo enforcement may also increase pending the results of a pilot program launched by national safety groups to evaluate how a combination of education, engineering and equitable enforcement can reduce speeding.

“A properly constructed photo enforcement program is a proven effective tool to significantly reduce speeding and crashes, making the roads safer for everyone who uses them,” said IIHS Vice President for Research Jessica Cicchino. “It’s an equitable and consistent way to enforce speed limits 24/7. Safety groups have developed an automated enforcement checklist to help communities implement programs successfully.”

To see additional results from the Erie Insurance survey on speeding, visit erieinsurance.com/blog/speeding-survey.