Results of the use of technology to traffic
The contribution of surveillance to induce drivers to comply with the regulated speed – which is one of the most important risk and severity factors in traffic – is recognized in several studies. The electronic surveillance is effective because it is continuous and includes all vehicles travelling by the monitored roads. The Electronic Speed Bump, for being even more ostensive than other devices, introduces respect indexes of exceeding 99.9, according to statistics generated by Perkons equipment.
Studies demonstrate that the main cause of accidents is the driver's negligence and speeding. Experiences around the world show that the most effective mean to reduce the number of deaths and injured in traffic accidents is the adoption of an electronic monitoring program.
Brazil is one of the first countries to use electronic speed monitoring through fixed equipment – with the installation of the first Electronic Speed Bumps in 1992 – and has one of the most successful traffic monitoring programs. Data from DNIT - Departamento Nacional de Infraestrutura e Transporte [National Transport Infrastructure Department], show that the deployment of electronic monitoring in critical points of federal highways and in urban routes contributes to a decrease of approximately 70% in traffic accidents. That is why Brazil was cited as a world reference in electronic monitoring in the book "Reduzindo Acidentes" ["Reducing Accidents"], edited by IDB – Inter-American Development Bank in 2001. The use of ostensive equipment was essential to get such results.
Researches conducted by IDB in 2001 have demonstrated that in points where the traffic control equipment was installed, the number of accidents decreased about 30% and the number of deaths, about 60%. In very critical points, with a large number of traffic accidents, the number of deaths reaches almost zero after the installation of speed control equipment. This is the main success of the electronic monitoring system: it contributes to a better management of traffic and acts as an ally in the public safety actions.
A public opinion survey carried out in 2002, commissioned by ABRAMCET - Associação Brasileira de Monitoramento e Controle Eletrônico de Trânsito [Brazilian Association of Monitoring and Electronic Control of Traffic], held in eight Brazilian capitals, has showed that 84% of the respondents have approved the traffic electronic monitoring system deployed in the country. In addition, it revealed that 46% of the respondents believe that, after installation of the radar, the number of accidents have decreased, 30% believe that the situation remained the same, and only 13% believe that the number of accidents have increased. 11% did not know nor had no opinion. The estimated margin of error is ± 2.7 percentage points.
Studies of Ibmec-Rio – Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais [Brazilian Institute of Capital Markets] – held in Brazilian federal highways, have proved that installing speed reducers contributes to decrease the number of accidents and deaths. According to these studies, only in 2004, installing Electronic Speed Bumps avoided 1,061 deaths and 12,370 accidents on federal highways, i.e., the equipment have prevented about 3 deaths and 34 accidents per day.
Another significant benefit from the use of traffic control equipment is the cost reduction. A research released in 2006 by Ipea – Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada [Institute of Applied Economic Research] –, in partnership with Denatran – Departamento Nacional de Trânsito [National Traffic Department] and ANTP – Associação Nacional de Transporte Público [National Public Transportation Association], has showed that each accident with death on federal highways costs to the public coffers BRL 418,000 in cases with fatal victims and BRL 86,000 when there are injured people. A study done in 2003 by the same Institute has showed that in urban areas the cost is lower: BRL 144,000 for accidents with fatal victims and BRL 17,000 for accidents with injured people.
With these results presented above, we know that the use of electronic monitoring devices is vital to promote road safety and reduce the rate of accidents – a world commitment signed by the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Studies show effective results about the combination of mass education to people on the risks caused by speeding and the necessary behavioral change. Road safety campaigns in the media may change the level of consciousness of people and their attitudes, but there is little evidence of achieving these changes without inspection, control and penalties. A highly effective speed control strategy involves operations with fixed or portable speed control cameras. The fixed cameras, although they are more easily viewed and quickly identified by drivers, provide a strong message that speeding is not tolerated and that actions are being taken in this direction. As a complementary strategy, it was proved that the use of discrete portable cameras, especially in urban areas, is a highly effective method to inform drivers that speeding is illegal and that it will not be allowed in any place or time. The combination of both is very effective to reduce speed at critical points. The fixed cameras are also a good way of addressing the risk of collisions related to speeding, because they are installed at critical points.