Fall 2003, p.12

Traffic Tickets Save Lives

Speed cameras help the police department greatly increase its traffic ticket output and speeding enforcement, saving lives and making streets safer.
Speed cameras help the police department greatly increase its traffic ticket output and speeding enforcement, saving lives and making streets safer.

Car-driving whiners often complain that traffic tickets only function as a cash cow to line city coffers and have no real safety function. A new study in the June 28, 2003 issue of the prestigious British medical journal, "The Lancet," proves this claim to be simply not true. It shows that, in fact, traffic tickets save lives. The study, which analyzed 8,975 licensed drivers who had been involved in fatal crashes in Ontario in the previous 11 years, found that getting a traffic ticket lowered by 35% the driver's chance of a fatal crash in the month following the ticket. The study also found that a conviction for a serious traffic violation and points on the offender's license reduced the driver's fatal crash risk by 50% in the month following the ticket. The researchers concluded that, "more frequent enforcement could immediately prevent a large amount of death, disability and health-care demands." In other words, this study proves that speed cameras (see facing page)--which would allow the New York City police department to increase greatly its traffic ticket output and speeding enforcement--would also save lives and make streets safer in the process.


Speed Facts

  • According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed-related crashes cost Americans approximately $40 billion a year.
  • Each year, more than 15,000 Americans die in speed-related crashes, and 80,000 people are seriously injured.
  • The chance of death when struck by a car at 40 mph is 70%; at 30 mph, 40%; and at 25 mph, 25%.

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