New Speed Cameras Won't Slow Drivers Down, Study Claims

Report recommends hidden cameras, not the visible ones the police so proudly launched recently.

Do the new speed cameras actually reduce speeding? No, says research done at Haifa University.

The report recommends hidden cameras, not the visible ones the police so proudly launched recently. Though, the researchers said, these days "there is almost no such thing as hidden cameras."

If a camera is glaringly evident, it won’t change driving habits.
Moti Kimche

The police's traffic division actually encourages disseminating information on the location of the new speed cameras, saying they lower average speeds. Some smartphone applications signal where the cameras are and police even intend to paint them orange to make them more visible. Some 60 new cameras are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

The study examined 30 subjects, 15 males and 15 females. They drove 24 kilometers in a simulator a number of times at speeds of 50 to 90 kph. Half drove on routes with visible speed cameras and the other half on routes where they were told cameras were hidden.

The drivers who drove on routes with speed cameras painted bright yellow on gray poles drove much faster than those on routes with hidden cameras, according to findings by Prof. Joel Norman, Dr. Pe'erly Setter and Hadas Marciano.

Faster drivers on roads with the visible cameras averaged speeds of 92 kph, while those on roads with the hidden cameras averaged only 67 kph. The faster drivers also picked up speed after passing one camera until they reached the next one and then slowed down rapidly. The other drivers simply drove more slowly all the time.

They called the behavior of the faster drivers "kangaroo driving," slowing down before the cameras and speeding up afterward. These drivers also developed a method of slowing down quickly just before the cameras, and accelerating rapidly afterward.