11/25/2014Saudi Arabia: Speed Cameras Cause Accidents
Speed cameras and red light cameras in Saudi Arabia cause a 12-car highway pileup and flip an SUV on its side.
Speed cameras played a central role in a pair of recent, high-profile accidents in Saudi Arabia. At the beginning of the month, a dozen vehicles crashed into one another in Qassim after a motorist saw a speed camera, panicked and jammed the brake pedal to the floor. Four people were injured as one car slammed into the next. One man was hospitalized.
Eyewitnesses told local media that a car driving on King Fahd Road in Buraydah hit the brakes right as he came within view of the "Saher" photo radar unit. The panic braking triggered a chain reaction of rear end collisions that included a police car.
Another motorist in Saudi Arabia who slammed on the brakes to avoid receiving an automated ticket from a camera ended up flipped on his side. An SUV approaching an intersection tried so hard to stop that it left a visible trail of skid marks on the pavement. The vehicle veered to the right under the heavy braking and spun onto the curb, which caused the car to flip on its side. View video of the incident on YouTube.
Similar incidents have been caught on video in the UK. In 2008, the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a news story highlighting the local government's crackdown on speeding. The piece inadvertently included footage of a car going out of control after jamming on the brakes, nearly causing a multi-car collision. Another clip showed a car careening into an embankment in view of the speed camera (view video). Once BBC officials realized the significance of what was shown, the video was removed. A motorist came forward after recording the broadcast.
UK officials maintain that speed cameras "save lives," and they cite statistics to prove it. According to a 2006 expose in the British Medical Journal, those figures were bogus (view study). A UK Department for Transport-funded report suggests that the panic braking seen in the Norfolk footage may not be an uncommon response. A 2005 study of speed camera usage in highway construction zones showed that accidents increased by 55 percent in the locations where speed camera vans were used (read report).