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Speed enforcement detection devices

Health Factors: Community Safety Housing & Transit
Decision Makers: State Government
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 20-49% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Speed enforcement detection devices include speed cameras and radar and laser devices. Speed enforcement devices can be permanently placed in a location and used automatically or can be used manually by law officers.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries
Reduced traffic speed

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that speed enforcement detection devices reduce traffic injuries and fatalities (Cochrane-Wilson 2010, Pilkington 2005). Additional evidence is needed to confirm the magnitude of these effects (Cochrane-Wilson 2010, Novoa 2010).

Speed cameras have been shown to reduce road traffic speed, collisions, injuries, and related casualties (Cochrane-Wilson 2010, Pilkington 2005). In an Arizona-based study, speed cameras reduced speeds on municipal streets and arterials (Washington 2007). In a Barcelona-based study, fixed speed cameras reduced crashes and injuries on medium to high speed beltway roads; effects were not significant on lower speed roads or roads with traffic lights (Novoa 2010).

Using vertical features such as speed bumps in addition to speed cameras can produce larger speed reductions than cameras only (Mountain 2005). Visible campaigns about speed camera programs can generate speed reductions beyond targeted streets (Retting 2008).

A Barcelona-based cost benefit analysis suggests that speed cameras in urban areas generate positive net benefits ranging from 5.6 to 23.1 million euros over two years (Mendivil 2012).


United States

Twenty-four states and Washington DC use automated enforcement (speed or red light cameras) for traffic violations, while twelve states prohibit this practice (GHSA-Speed cameras).


Wisconsin law prohibits automated photo-radar enforcement, but speed detection devices are used manually by law officers (GHSA-Speed cameras).

Implementation Resources

GHSA-Speed cameras - Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Speed and red light camera laws. Accessed on July 12, 2017
NHTSA-Speed cameras - Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Speed enforcement camera systems operational guidelines. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation (US DOT); 2008. Accessed on July 12, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Cochrane-Wilson 2010* - Wilson C, Willis C, Hendrikz JK, Le Brocque R, Bellamy N. Speed cameras for the prevention of road traffic injuries and deaths. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(11):CD004607. Accessed on July 12, 2017
Mendivil 2012* - Mendivil J, García-Altés A, Pérez K, Marí-Dell’Olmo M, Tobías A. Speed cameras in an urban setting: A cost-benefit analysis. Injury Prevention. 2012;18(2):75–80. Accessed on July 12, 2017
Mountain 2005* - Mountain LJ, Hirst WM, Maher MJ. Are speed enforcement cameras more effective than other speed management measures? The impact of speed management schemes on 30 mph roads. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2005;37(4):742–54. Accessed on July 12, 2017
Novoa 2010* - Novoa AM, Pérez K, Santamariña-Rubio E, Marí-Dell’Olmo M, Tobías A. Effectiveness of speed enforcement through fixed speed cameras: A time series study. Injury Prevention. 2010;16(1):12–6. Accessed on July 12, 2017
Pilkington 2005* - Pilkington P, Kinra S. Effectiveness of speed cameras in preventing road traffic collisions and related casualties: Systematic review. BMJ. 2005;330:331-4. Accessed on July 12, 2017
Retting 2008* - Retting RA, Farmer CM, McCartt AT. Evaluation of automated speed enforcement in Montgomery County, Maryland. Traffic Injury Prevention. 2008;9(5):440–5. Accessed on July 12, 2017
Washington 2007 - Washington S, Shin K, van Schalkwyk I. Evaluation of the city of Scottsdale loop 101 photo enforcement demonstration program: Final report AZ-684. Phoenix: Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT); 2007. Accessed on July 12, 2017

Citations - Implementation

GHSA-Speed cameras - Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Speed and red light camera laws. Accessed on July 12, 2017

Page Last Updated

December 6, 2013

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