Could More Traffic Cameras Make Highway Driving Safer?

There are few easy answers here

How safe do you feel when driving on a given highway?
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How do you make roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians? In a lot of cases, it depends on the road. A policy that makes sense for residential or urban roads — like New York City’s Vision Zero — can’t necessarily be translated into a workable plan for highways, and vice versa. And while even the most ambitious plans don’t always work as intended, the reasons for putting them into place are eminently understandable.

A new article by Henry Grabar at Slate offers an interesting lens through which to look at the debate over speed limits, speeding tickets and traffic stops. And it makes a compelling case for taking a different approach to implementing safer roadways — including using radar and cameras to issue tickets automatically and modifying road designs to adjust the way people drive.

One factor cited in the article in favor of this method rather than police pulling drivers over is the threat of violence. Grabar notes that traffic stops are “the start of 1 in 3 police shootings,” and cites a study pointing out that Black drivers are significantly more likely to be pulled over by police.

The article covers a lot of ground, but it also reveals some of the underlying issues with implementing changes to the way governments currently manage drivers’ speed. Cameras are nominally more impartial than police — but they’ve still resulted in outcomes that perpetuate racial inequality. They’ve also faced resistance in some states. The problems that can arise from unsafe driving are very real — but there’s no easy solution for them.

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