THURSDAY, July 28, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Speed cameras installed on major highways are a cost-effective method of preventing traffic accidents and motor vehicle deaths, researchers say.
Traffic accidents claim about 1.3 million lives worldwide every year, according to the study published online in the journal Injury Prevention.
Researchers did a financial analysis of speed cameras mounted on major access routes in Barcelona between 2003 and 2005.
They found the expenses associated with the cameras (installation, operation, ticketing and police time) were easily outweighed by the costs stemming from traffic accidents that occurred in Barcelona between 2003 and 2004 (medical treatment, damages to property and lost productivity).
The researchers also projected that in the first two years of operation the speed cameras would result in 364 fewer accidents and 507 fewer injuries.
Fewer accidents and injuries, the study concluded, translated to big cost savings. The researchers calculated the net savings resulting from the speed cameras totaled $9.8 million over two years.
"Our results show that the installation of speed cameras on the beltways of Barcelona has net benefits for society even under fairly conservative assumptions," the study authors wrote.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides more information on driving safety.