Why not make speed cameras reward good drivers?

Carrot or stick? It’s a common policy debate – do you get the best outcome by punishing or encouraging?

At the moment, it most frequently comes up in political debates over the environment, and in particular recycling. Can recycling levels best be raised by encouragement, such as discounts for recycling more of your waste, or by threats, such as legal limits on how much you can place in your bins?

It is a question that can be applied much more widely, which is why I was interested to see the initiative in Sweden where a speed camera records all the cars keeping to the speed limit with all the legal drivers going into a prize draw for cash prizes.

This neat idea could have a double benefit: tapping into the power of encouragement to get safer roads and also, by recycling the cash from the fines for speeding motorists, it could help rescue speed cameras from the cash cow curse.

That anyway is the theory. It is only a pilot and with different cultural attitudes in Sweden and Britain, what works there may not work here. Certainly worth a try here I think though. If you are involved in traffic decisions and reading this, how about giving a pilot here a try?

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