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Speed Cameras: Say "Cheese" As You Pass The Next Stop Light

Thursday, 31 Jan 2008 | 8:41 AM ET
Speed Camera
Speed Camera

Got a lead foot? Well here's something that will make you slow down: Speed Cameras. Yes, the cameras we will see at an increasing number of intersections around the country that will catch us ripping through areas 10, 15, 20 miles over the speed limit. Seems this is one picture we'd all rather not be in.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety measured the effectiveness of these cameras as part of its new study on speeding. The Institute finds that when cities install these "robo-instamatics", the number of people racing through certain areas drops faster than a Corvette can stop. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but the numbers are impressive.

Look at Scottsdale, Arizona, the first city to use these cameras. The study finds: "Before the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, kicked off a pilot speed-camera enforce-ment program, 15 percent of drivers were traveling faster than 75 mph on sections of a busy urban freeway with a 65 mph posted limit. Once the cameras were in place on Loop 101, the number of violators plunged to 1-2 percent,..."

Results like this, plus the fact these cameras pay for themselves quickly in terms of generating revenue (speeding tickets) and forcing people to slow down, means we'll see more and more cities add these cameras.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the ones showing you or your neighbor speeding probably will probably include a bunch of the "four letter" variety. The camera never blinks, and in this case, that's a good thing.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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