Automated traffic enforcement technologies do not make roads safer

Published: December 23, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Automated traffic aids do not bring added safety for drivers says a new report from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP), stating that road related fatalities continue to fall because of improvements in automotive engineering.

Technology has meant that automated devices can catch people driving over the speed limit, but the report suggests automated traffic enforcement (ATE) is merely in place to reap the rewards of fines. As a counterbalance, traffic related deaths have constantly fallen in Canada over the last 40 years, but the Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) says improvements in technology within vehicles account for that decline.

Indeed, the automotive engineering process should be praised as fatalities have declined by a factor of three over the last four decades, yet the population in Canada has more than doubled.

The report was created by Hiroko Shimizu and Pierre Desrochers and the 40 page paper points out that traffic fatalities are not a virtual rarity, with more Canadians dying from falls each year.

“The number of traffic-related serious injuries and total injuries also decreased drastically in spite of increased numbers of registered vehicles and licensed drivers.”

“In other words, the average Canadian driver commuting 50 km per day would make 232 round trips to the moon before being expected to be involved in a fatal accident,” the report states

“There is some evidence that the implementation of proven engineering practices (such as better signage, speed limit setting more in tune with actual driving practices, and slightly longer yellow light times) are the most effective way of reducing traffic violations and collisions.”

Automated traffic aids such as speed cameras and signs warning of law infringement may actually do more harm than good, the report hints. The paper adds that automated traffic enforcement (ATE) technologies is too common and that many industry experts think that traffic deaths would continue to fall if those technologies were decreased.