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Are Traffic Cameras Financially Beneficial?

A 2011 study suggests that traffic cameras are financially beneficial to cities, but not in the way that most people expect, which is from increased traffic ticket revenues. Instead, the study found that traffic cameras reduce the number of crashes, saving enormous amounts of money and preventing many injuries. In Barcelona, Spain, the site of the study, traffic cameras are credited with reducing the number of accidents by more than 360 in two years and the number of injuries by about 500 in two years. Before the traffic cameras were put in place, Barcelona had more than 12,000 accidents a year.

More facts about traffic cameras:

  • The first traffic cameras in the United States were installed in 1987 in Friendswood and LaMarque, Texas. They were scrapped after a few months because of intense unpopularity.

  • A traffic camera was responsible for catching the man who had received the world's largest traffic ticket as of 2011. The man, a Swedish citizen driving in Switzerland, was going more than 180 mph (289 kph), which was more than 2.5 times the speed limit in the area. He was fined $920,205 US Dollars (USD), his $228,284 USD car was impounded, and his driver's license was suspended.

  • Though there are many theories about how to avoid traffic cameras, most are urban legends. One that was true for a short time in the United Kingdom was that a driver could avoid a traffic camera by changing lanes. This was because the type of camera being used was approved for use in only one lane. The type of camera that is used has since been changed.

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