WASHINGTON (AP) — Drivers beware: Speed cameras could be on their way to a location near you thanks to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law.
Under new federal guidelines released Wednesday, states can now tap into billions of federal highway dollars for traffic safety programs such as automated traffic control. They are told cameras that photograph speeders are an established way to help reduce the growing number of road deaths.
It’s all part of the Department for Transport’s new national strategy to stem the record rise in road deaths through a comprehensive ‘safe system’ approach that promotes better road design, higher speed limits low and more car safety regulations. Federal Highway Administration guidelines specifically cite speed cameras as a proven tool in combating dangerous driving.
The Federal Highway Administration’s goal “is to help state and local transportation agencies across the country deliver projects that make streets, highways and bridges safe and accessible for all users,” the official said. agency deputy administrator, Stephanie Pollack. “States now have more flexibility and funding to make road safety improvements.”
Automated traffic enforcement is not widely adopted. Speed cameras have been slow to gain acceptance in communities, even after the National Transportation Safety Board called for greater use of them in 2017 to deter accidents, due to residents’ fears they will be used unnecessarily and excessively as a revenue-generating tool. Eight states specifically prohibit the use of speed cameras.
But as road deaths have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, auto safety groups have increasingly reported that automated road traffic enforcement yields fairer and more consistent results than police checks. They released a checklist last summer aimed at providing a roadmap for building community support.
“Automated speed enforcement, if deployed equitably and applied appropriately on roads with the greatest risk of damage from speeding, can provide significant safety benefits and save lives,” according to the Transportation Department’s security strategy released last week.
The department said that under the previous five-year transportation bill, states were mostly limited to spending road safety money on hard infrastructure projects, such as building sidewalks; the use of federal funds for speed cameras was prohibited, except in school zones. Now, under Biden’s new law, states have the flexibility to use up to 10% of the $15.6 billion in total road safety funds available over five years for specific non-road safety programs. infrastructure, such as public awareness campaigns, automated road safety enforcement and measures to protect children walking and cycling to school.
About $3 billion of traffic safety money was distributed to states in December.
The new guidelines also require that at least 15% of a state’s road safety improvement program funds be directed to pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized road users if these groups account for 15% or more of fatalities. by state accident.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg stressed the need to improve safety for all road users and not just drivers, noting that safer roads for all open up options for public transport. According to government data, road deaths involving cyclists and pedestrians are more likely to affect low-income non-white people.