Fewer fatalities and heavy casualties due to traffic enforcement cameras: especially cyclists benefit from red light cameras.

18 October 2012

The use of speed and red light cameras causes a decline in the number of fatalities and heavy casualties on regional roads. This finding is confirmed yet again by an new scientific study of the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB) of Hasselt University, commissioned by the Flemish Minister of mobility and public works Hilde Crevits. It is the first time that scientific research into the effects of cameras on traffic safety is conducted on such a scale. The results of the study are in line with similar research abroad. Minister Crevits will focus on additional scientific research on the behaviour of road users at crossroads.


Research before and after

What is the road safety impact of speed and red light cameras on regional roads? That was the mission of the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB) of Hasselt University, conducted within the Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety. It is the first time that such a study was conducted on such a large scale.


IMOB investigated the traffic enforcement cameras which were placed on regional roads up until 2007 by Flanders. The choice was made that way because until today official localized accident data are only available up to and including 2008.


The study consists of an analysis of the number of heavy accidents (with fatalities or heavy casualties), and the number of injury accidents (all the accidents with at least one injured) before and after the placement of the speed and red light cameras. Also other factors were taken into account that could have an impact on road safety, such as the adaptation of infrastructure and speed reduction. The study period runs from 2000 to 2008. Concretely it involves the investigation of 65 places where there are speed cameras and 253 intersections with red light and speed cameras in Flanders.


Speed cameras

All accidents within a range of 500 meter before and after the speed cameras were investigated. The analysis of 65 speed cameras spread over Flanders shows that the number of serious accidents with fatalities or heavy casualties has decreased with 29 percent. It benefits all the road users: car drivers, mobed riders, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. The overall number of accidents with personal injury decreased by 8 percent.


In places where also other measures were taken, such as the adaptation of the infrastructure and speed reduction, we can see a decrease of the number of accidents with fatalaties and heavy casualties by 23 percent and the number of general injury accidents by 10 percent.


Red light cameras

Here research was conducted in a radius of 50 meters of the cameras. For the first time an analysis was made of 253 intersections equipped with red light cameras. They are located at intersections with traffic lights and they register both red light negation and speeding. Here we also established a decrease in the number of accidents with fatalities and heavy casualties with 18 percent. The number of injury accidents increased by 9 percent.


In places where other measures where also taken, such as the adaptation of infrastructure, there is a decrease of 19 percent of the number of accidents with fatalities and heavy casualties and a decrease of 24 percent in the number of injury accidents. Mainly cyclists benefit from the red light cameras. The cameras allow for a  decrease in the number of injured cyclists with 22 percent.


Due to the use of red light cameras the number of flank collisions at intersections drops. The side effect is the increase in the number of rear-end collisions. The effects of rear-end collisions are for obvious reasons less heavy than the consequences of flank collisions.


More info: dr. Stijn Daniels, T: +32 (0)11 26 91 56, E: stijn.daniels@uhasselt.be


Download the complete report in PDF

You can also find the complete report in our Publication database

De Pauw, E., Daniels, S., Brijs, T., Hermans, E. & Wets, G. (2012). Effectevalution of speed and red light cameras at regional roads in Flanders. Diepenbeek, Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety, RA-2012-001, 142p.




The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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