Do Speed Cameras Make Roads Safer? Drivers hate traffic cameras, especially when the ticket arrives in the mail. But traffic engineers and police insist they work and that they have data to back it up. Guests talk about what's really behind the dreaded speed camera.

Do Speed Cameras Make Roads Safer?

Do Speed Cameras Make Roads Safer?

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Drivers hate traffic cameras, especially when the ticket arrives in the mail. But traffic engineers and police insist they work and that they have data to back it up. Guests talk about what's really behind the dreaded speed camera.

Lt. Steve Harrison, public information officer, Arizona Department of Safety
Leon James, co-author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Ashley Halsey, reporter, Washington Post
Pete Tenereillo, founder and CEO of Trapster


This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

And if you tuned in to hear Bill T. Jones today, we planned to talk with him about a new celebration of Abraham Lincoln. an urgent matter came up with his production that he had to attend to. We are working to reschedule that conversation for next week and we hope you'll join us then. A bit later in this hour we'll talk with Stephen Walt, professor at Harvard, about the unsolicited endorsement his book recently received from Osama Bin Laden.

But first, the technology race between speeders and cops. Police departments across the country are always on the look out for new ways to get drivers to slow down: planes, helicopters, radar guns, radar. And now technology lets law enforcement catch speeders even when there aren't enough cops around to work the road - cameras that use radar and now lasers. Drivers of course race to stay one step ahead with gadgets like fuzz busters and laser detectives. Many angry drivers argue that the speed cameras are not about safety. They say states and counties and towns just want to make more money.

If you've been caught speeding by a camera, how did you react? If you work in law enforcement, do they work? Give us a call. Our phone number: 800-989-8255, email us: You can also join the conversation at our Web site, that's at, click on TALK OF THE NATION. At least a dozen states use speed cameras right now, including Arizona, and joining us now from his office in Phoenix, Lieutenant Steve Harrison, public information officer at the Arizona Department of Safety. Nice to have you with us today.

Lieutenant STEVE HARRISON (Arizona Department of Safety): Thank you.

CONAN: And is there any proof that these speed cameras work to make drivers slow down?

Lt. HARRISON: Yes. There was a preliminary study done about a year ago on the initial placement of photo enforcement. And that appears to have reduced collisions about 20 to 30 percent. We've had the system in place for a little over a year and we are seeing essentially the same trend here in Arizona.

CONAN: And at the same time, people say, well, this is about generating revenue. These cameras more than pay for themselves, don't they?

Lt. HARRISON: Well, the system is cost effective in that it does pay for itself. However, that is not the purpose of our system. Our system is strictly for public safety. Most collisions, especially injury and fatal collisions, speed is a factor. And if we can slow people down, we can reduce or eliminate injuries and fatalities.

CONAN: And what's been the public response to these cameras?

Lt. HARRISON: Initially, I think there were some local minority people out there, Big Brother is watching, it's only for money, number of other issues. But generally I think the public, out here at least, has accepted them. And we're seeing reactions (unintelligible) three to one in favor of the program.

CONAN: In favor of the program because after a while, if there are fewer collisions and fewer injuries and fatalities, people notice.

Lt. HARRISON: Exactly. The commute out here is much smoother, traffic flows much better. There are much fewer collisions, and of course, you know, people slow down to look at the collisions. So traffic flows better and I think the people appreciate that. And the reality is we're only asking people to drive the speed limit.

CONAN: And I have to say, presumably - I don't think I'm telling tales out of school - normally these cameras don't trigger a warning until you're, what, five or 10 miles over the speed limit.

Lt. HARRISON: Actually, ours are set at a trigger speed of 11 miles per hour. So you can be traveling 10 miles over the speed limit and you will not get flashed by our photo enforcement units.

CONAN: And how much of a ticket do you get if you do get flashed?

Lt. HARRISON: Right now it's a set fee by the legislature. It's $181.

CONAN: And at the moment, it's at least in part - the reason behind this is that there aren't enough traffic cops in the state to do this kind of enforcement.

Lt. HARRISON: Well, based on the number of activations of our photo enforcement units, we would probably need two to three thousand officers to do the same amount of work. So clearly there just aren't that many officers and there is a significant funding issue that would go with that as well.

CONAN: Lieutenant Harrison, thanks very much for your time. Appreciate it.

Lt. HARRISON: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

CONAN: Lieutenant Steve Harrison with us by phone from his office in Phoenix. He is public information officer at the Arizona Department of Safety. Leon James joins us now from his home in Kailua in Hawaii. He is professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii. He studies driver behavior and co-wrote the book "Road Rage and Aggressive Driving." Nice to have you back on the program.

Professor LEON JAMES (University of Hawaii): Glad to be here.

CONAN: And I have to say that the reaction, the acceptance that Lieutenant Harrison was describing in Arizona, is not universal.

Prof. JAMES: That's true, because there are so many factors involved in photo radar and camera tickets, as they call them. Some people call them dangerous automated ticketing schemes. And you've heard some of this in your talk with Mr. Harrison, but that's one version of it anyway.

CONAN: And there is a distinct difference in the response that drivers have if they're pulled over by an officer. I think most people are somewhat abashed and admit that they've done something wrong and apologetic. Nevertheless, the reaction is very different if you get a ticket in the mail from a camera.

Prof. JAMES: Yes. Well, actually some people prefer it, some people don't. The people who prefer it, for instance, like myself, well, okay, I made a mistake, I pay it off and I forget about the whole thing. Other people are not like that. They react, oh, this is unfair. I'm going to fight this. I'm not going to be a wimp and just roll(ph) over. And so the people who want to fight this, they prefer to confront an officer so that they can explain.

CONAN: And do people take these to court?

Prof. JAMES: Yes. Like I said, people who - who think this is unjust, they make it into a personal case and they will pursue it all the way till the end and use all their means to fight it. And there are organizations who help them do it.

CONAN: We're talking about speed cameras today. We want to hear from drivers. If you've been caught, how did you respond? We want to hear from, well, the highway patrol, to put it mildly, how do you - what's your experience with them? Do they work? 800-989-8255. Email is Dennis is on the line calling from Murfreesboro in Tennessee.

DENNIS (Caller): Hello. Thanks for having me on.

CONAN: Go ahead, please.

DENNIS: Well, we have the red light cameras here in Murfreesboro. And the information I have is that they're not even paying for their self because people aren't sending the fines in. But at the same time, a driver that goes through one of these and has their - the rear end of their vehicle taken a picture of, and then you get this ticket in the mail and they can't even prove that I was the driver behind the wheel. They're just showing the rear end of my car. If I loan my car out to somebody and they go out and get me a ticket, that doesn't seem constitutional or legal, either one.

But it's so impersonal too, it seems like they're - to me they're cheating. If I'm going to get a ticket from an officer, I want the officer standing right there beside of me. I don't want to be getting no ticket from - in the mailbox, especially, you know, my mail don't always make it to me. So I can have a ticket and not even know it. And then, you know, what happens then? Do I lose my license because I didn't pay a ticket I got in the mail that actually ended up three doors down and in the trash can?

So these electronic devices that we're using to give out tickets, to me, that just seems like another way for the city to make up the lost revenue, not enforce the law. They're not enforcing the law. They're just trying to catch you. And just…

CONAN: I hear your anger, Dennis, but I'm sure you understand that if somebody runs a red light, no matter what time of day, there's a real danger of a very dangerous collision.

DENNIS: Oh, I understand that completely. I'm not advocating running red lights at all. I'm just against the red light cameras. If they want sit there and watch a red light and give me a ticket if I run it, go for it. But I'm just against the cameras. The other problem it's causing is that when the light turns yellow, people are slamming on their brakes to keep from going through the camera and getting a ticket in the mail, and then car behind them slams into the rear of them.

So while it does reduce the number of people running the red light, it increases the rear-end collisions.

CONAN: All right, Dennis…

DENNIS: And the cops will say, okay, well, you shouldn't have been following so close. Well, you're going zero to five miles an hour or 10 miles an hour, you know, going through a red light. Come on, close is what, one car length?

CONAN: Dennis, thanks very much for the call, appreciate it.

DENNIS: Thanks for having me on.

CONAN: And Professor James, that kind of reaction, I think you hear a lot of people say that.

Mr. JAMES: Yes, yes, and I think Dennis brought up a lot of valid facts, like the fact of the rear-end collisions that are part of the problem with this kind of system. But also, he brought out what I was saying earlier, namely some people who think this is unjust or also who see this as government paternalism. And there is an organization like the National Motorists Association that has dealt with this for over two decades on the Web.

There are definitely - we talked about it in our chapter in the book, in our "Road Rage" book in 2001. So I think definitely people are concerned that on the one hand, like Officer Harrison said, there is a reduction of collisions, and everybody likes that, but on the other hand, you are treading upon certain issues that are amendment issues.

CONAN: And what happened, tell us, when the speed cameras were introduced there in Hawaii?

Mr. JAMES: Yes, this was in 2002. It lasted for five months, and it was - the legislature introduced what's called the traffic van cam law, and they did it without public discussion, which was a mistake. The company who did, whom they hired, normally has several weeks of preparing the public for it, but in this case, it didn't work that way. So that turned out to be a mistake.

They issued 5,000 tickets during the first month and 10,000 tickets per month right after that, and the public started rebelling, and they started calling them the Talivans(ph) instead of camera vans, the Talivans, and the company got about $30 for every ticket, and this really incensed a lot of people. Anyway, at the very end, legislature had to repeal the law because it was too unpopular.

CONAN: And so the cameras were packed up and put away, and the company went out of business?

Mr. JAMES: No, this is a company that's national, goes national. It has business in 12 other cities, but in this case, basically the judges wouldn't convict on tickets less than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. And just as the other person said on your show just now, in Arizona, the trigger is 11 miles per hour, and I think that's very, very intelligent of them to do that.

CONAN: Stay with us if you would, professor. Here's an email from Matt. I received a camera ticket for running a red light last winter in Menlo Park, California. I earned the ticket and was planning on taking it with a lump and a smile until I received the notice in the mail informing me the cost of the ticket was $493. Charging me a bit north of a week's pay has deterred me from running red lights, I will concede, but it has also deterred me from doing any stopping in that city. Menlo Park may have enriched its coffers by a bit in charging me that high an amount, but they have lost a shopper that patronized businesses in their shopping district on a regular basis.

So, consumer revenge there. We're talking about the technology war between speeders and the police and the growing debate over speed cameras. If you've been caught speeding by a traffic camera, give us a call, 800-989-8255. How did you react? Email us, Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Police have radar guns, so drivers get radar detectors. Now cops have radar-detector detectors. It's part of the never-ending technology war between speeders and law enforcement.

We're focused today on speed cameras and the debate over their proliferation on the roads. If you've been caught speeding by one of these cameras, how did you react? If you work in law enforcement, do they work? 800-989-8255. Email us, And you can join the conversation on our Web site. That's at Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Here's an email we got from Dennis in Phoenix. I've lived in Phoenix the majority of my life. Before the speed cameras were installed, driving on the Loop 101 felt like driving in a death trap, with cars going 20 to 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. After the installation of the cameras, there was a noticeable change in speeding from other drivers, and I no longer feel endangered driving on that stretch of highway.

Our guest is Leon James, who studies driving behavior and teaches at the University of Hawaii, also co-author of the book "Road Rage and Aggressive Driving." And joining us by phone from Annapolis in Maryland is Ashley Halsey. He's the transportation writer for the Washington Post, and nice to have you on the program today.

Mr. ASHLEY HALSEY (Reporter, Washington Post): It's great to be here.

CONAN: And you were the author of an article in today's paper about this issue in a neighborhood just north of Washington, D.C., Chevy Chase, Maryland, suburban Maryland, where two new laser cameras will be installed by Friday. Laser cameras?

Mr. HALSEY: Yes, they are the latest technology to make it to the roadways. They've been using them in Europe for quite a while, caused quite a bit of controversy there, and no doubt that they will cause all the more controversy here, because they allow the police to single out vehicles.

Right now, if you and I are both driving in the same direction down a highway, and you're abiding by the speed limit, and I come by you at 90 miles and hour, and the camera takes our picture, the police have no way of knowing whether your car or my car was the speeding vehicle. When they use laser, they'll be able to tell that I was speeding and you were not, or if we were both speeding, it will tell them that, as well.

CONAN: And you mentioned that these laser cameras have been quite controversial in Britain. According to your article, there's been - well, people have taken out their feelings.

Mr. HALSEY: Yes, this is all anecdotal, but it's - they've - I'm told that motorcycle gangs come by and, in team efforts, take down the poles on which some of these are mounted, that tires have been put around them and then set on fire and that people take spray-paint cans and spray over them. I imagine in some cases, it requires a stepladder, but desperate times I guess call for desperate measures.

CONAN: And the state of Maryland is going ahead with speed cameras, not just in Montgomery County, where of course these laser cameras will be. It is controversial there.

Mr. HALSEY: It is indeed, and the legislature, and I think this is the case in most states and municipalities that have considered allowing these things, has put certain restrictions on when and where they may be used and also on the speed at which someone can be ticketed because obviously if you have a highly calibrated machine, you can - they can catch you if you're one mile over the hour - or one minute over the - one mile per hour over the limit.

CONAN: Over the speed limit, yeah, there you go.

Mr. HALSEY: Got it there. So they've decided that they ought to give some leeway in those instances.

CONAN: And are they, frankly, seen as revenue generators?

Mr. HALSEY: Well, you know, I think that's going to vary from place to place. There are some places that ever since horses and buggies and the first speed limits have been known as speed traps, and in those municipalities, surely traffic fines and speeding fines are revenue generators.

In other cases, they can be very effective in limiting people to the speed limit. In cases, and we've all seen them, where the camera is flashing with its little flash bulb, you'll see the vehicles slow down.

So if a camera is located in a place, and people, it's common knowledge that it's there, there's going to be a tendency of people who frequent that highway or that roadway to slow down.

CONAN: And we have that email from Rob in Oklahoma City who points out: Speed cameras are generally more objective than police officers. Has the experience been that these cameras are reliable?

Mr. HALSEY: As far as I know, the - you know, again, they have to be calibrated correctly. They have to be used properly and, like any other bit of machinery, I'm sure that they can go awry, but the technology, when used properly, I think probably is far more accurate.

But there is the assumption there that a police officer is going to be inherently inaccurate if he's using a radar gun, and I think a lot of people who have gotten speeding tickets would argue that point, but I'm not sure that it's necessarily so.

CONAN: All right, Ashley Halsey, thanks very much for your time.

Mr. HALSEY: It's a pleasure to be with you.

CONAN: Ashley Halsey, with us by phone from Annapolis, the capital of Maryland. He's the transportation writer for the Washington Post. Let's get Sally(ph) on the line, Sally calling from Portland, Oregon.

SALLY (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, go ahead, please.

SALLY: Well, I had two instances, and I actually think the cameras are fine if they're legitimate. The first instance, actually I was speeding, coming off the freeway. The second instance, I was given - sent a ticket for going 40 in a 30-mile-an-hour zone, and I didn't believe that it was a 30-mile-an-hour zone. So I went back and checked, and it wasn't.

So I called the number on the ticket that I received, and they said, oh yes, well, we made a mistake, and we're going to call everyone and tell them, but I truly believe that had I not called and just paid my ticket, I probably wouldn't have gotten my money back.

CONAN: And how much money was it?

SALLY: You know what? I can't remember. I'm sorry, it was under $100, I think, but over $70, maybe. It was sizable but not huge, but the point was that I waited, and nobody called me. You know, I went back to actually check and make sure because I didn't think I was speeding at that time, and I think they're fine if they're legitimate. We shouldn't be speeding, but I think that in our area, they're contracted out to private companies, and the private companies, of course, are going to make money. They want to.

CONAN: And so they're going to try to ticket everybody they possibly can, yes. Sally…

SALLY: Yeah, who's watching out for the people who aren't speeding? I could have just paid the ticket and thought oh, well, I was.

CONAN: Well, thanks very much for the call, appreciate it.

SALLY: You're welcome.

CONAN: Bye-bye, and getting back to you, Professor James, that seems to be - if a private company is involved, that seems to be an irritant in and of itself.

Mr. JAMES: Yes, and I think the critical thing is going to be is how these devices, the new ones and the old ones, are managed, and I think that's important. I give you two suggestions that I think safety officials should think about. Number one, let the drivers know when the zone of observation begins and ends because there's no need to surprise the driver. The effective, the positive effect of the electronic device, is to get the driver to slow down. So if the driver knows it begins here, it ends there, they're going to slow down anyway. So then they'll be happier, and they'll be able to accept it.

And the second suggestion would be, vary the amount of the fine and the trigger when it goes into effect depending on the conditions and the time of the day because if some - for instance, if there's a trigger of 25 miles per hour, when there's nobody on that street, it doesn't need to be 25, it could be 35, for instance like near a school and so on. But so the idea of having the same fine and the same trigger all the time on one place is not a good way of managing the system.

CONAN: Let's go to Rachel(ph), Rachel with us from Gilbert, Arizona.

RACHEL (Caller): You know, it's interesting when - one of your comments was it makes the freeways safer here on the 101, but my husband was commuting across the valley, 45 miles across the Phoenix Valley, and his experience and my experience of driving in it, as well, has been when you've got that much traffic on there, and you've got these traffic cameras, you've got people who are still going to speed. And then the camera comes up, and then they slam their brakes, which then causes kind of a ripple effect and more accidents.

So even if you have moderate traffic driving on the freeway during a regular, you know, a light flow, it does great and keeps people going the speed limit, but during - it seems like people know where the cameras are. They speed around them, and then they get to them, and then they hit their brakes, and it just kind of seems to cause more problems in traffic during those…

CONAN: Because people are constantly trying to game the system. They'll speed where they can and then slow down for where the cameras are.

RACHEL: Right, right, and it just, it kind of seems like it kind of defeats the purpose when there's that much traffic, and we've got - you know, already have a lot of accidents on our freeways here in Arizona.

CONAN: Well, do you believe Lieutenant Harrison when he said there's been fewer collisions and fewer injuries and fewer deaths?

RACHEL: You know, it's hard to debate because every morning when I watch the commute, you know, the news and see what's going on in the commute, there are accidents constantly, and I've driven in it, and I've seen it. So I don't know, and I think it's up for debate when they say that it's not for monetary gain and that they're not out to make money off it. I think - I would debate that, personally.

CONAN: Rachel, thanks very much.

RACHEL: You're welcome.

CONAN: Speaking of gaming the system, joining us now is Pete Tenereillo. He is the founder and CEO of Trapster software that lets you know where speed cameras and traps are in real time, and he joins us now from his office in Carlsbad, California. Nice to have you with us today.

Mr. PETE TENEREILLO (Founder and CEO, Trapster): Hi. Thanks.

CONAN: Tell us what Trapster is.

Mr. TENEREILLO: So, Trapster is a service that alerts you on your mobile phone as you approach police speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras, mobile speed vans and other roadway wallet hazards.

CONAN: Roadway wallet hazards. You don't consider them safety hazards?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TENEREILLO: Well, I, you know, I don't know. I - I've been listening in a little bit and I do agree with the last caller. You know, I've been in Phoenix and people do, you know, slow way down right at every one of those six cameras.

CONAN: And if they subscribe the Trapster, more of them would slow down.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TENEREILLO: Yeah. I think that they might slow down for those and they also slow down for the tricky one, which is the mobile speed van. That's the one that moves around. So…

CONAN: Well, how does Trapster work?

Mr. TENEREILLO: Okay. So, Trapster works in a number of different ways. It's available on most smart phones. It's available on the iPhone. It's a downloadable application and it uses GPS. And it shows your location on a map. It has kind of a bleep coming out that we call virtual radar. And as you approach one of these reported enforcement points or cameras, a spoken warning will come out, like live police, or red light camera. And we have it in English, French, German, Spanish. And then we have all kinds of different fun, selectable (unintelligible) coming out of the next version. It should post this week.

CONAN: And how does the phone know where the speed traps are?

Mr. TENEREILLO: So the information gets into the system three ways. The first way is our paid staff does research and it's really pretty easy to find out the locations of cameras on (unintelligible). Cities usually post that. They're not trying to hide those.

The second way is we have a worldwide army of volunteers that we call moderators. And if you look, for example, in London, just search on our trap map in London on our Web site, you can see that our moderators have gone in and marked every speed camera and added a Google street view tag we call it. So you can actually see a picture of the camera and the surrounding area and so forth. A lot of time, thanks goodness for them, you know, we've got so many people that want to help out.

And then the last way is that users enter the information dynamically. Some call it crowdsourcing. And that is really the only way that we can gather information in real time. For example, there's a police that often sits down at the intersection of Manchester and Highway 5, which is nearby where I work. And the other morning, I was coming in and spotted him there. He's watching for people making a left turn. And so, I marked him. And 10 minutes later, one of my associates came in, Jay(ph), and he had left. So he marked it down. So, it's, you know, he was only live in the system for about 10 minutes.

CONAN: And I hear you're saying these are audible warnings. But are you afraid that people are going to be looking at their phones instead of driving?

Mr. TENEREILLO: Well, it's, you know, the - it needs to have a mount on a windshield. You know, people use navigation systems to find directions. Actually, there are turn-by-turn directions in the Trapster app. It's an all around travel app. We show gas stations and…

CONAN: Uh-huh.

Mr. TENEREILLO: …police stations and fire stations. We show all kinds of different things on there. And so, the nav system - so the interaction with the program is really no different than the interaction with a nav system…

CONAN: A GPS system.

Mr. TENEREILLO: …in your car.

CONAN: Yeah. Okay. All right. And how many of these have you sold?

Mr. TENEREILLO: Well, the app is absolutely free. So the answer to that would be zero. And we have about 1.15 - actually, 1.17 million iPhones using it; about 500,000 BlackBerries; about 100,000 Android phones; and then the other mix of Nokia and J2ME phones and so forth, make it to about two million of them. We're also coming out with Palm Pre and Windows Mobile. Hopefully, those are going to post as soon as this week.

CONAN: Well, Pete Tenereillo, thanks very much. Appreciate it. Good luck.

Mr. TENEREILLO: Okay. Thank you.

CONAN: Pete Tenereillo, founder and CEO of Trapster, a software which lets you know where the speed cameras or the traps and the police are in real time. He was with us today from his office in Carlsbad, California.

You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And let's see if we can get another caller on the line. Another caller from Phoenix, Elizabeth(ph).

ELIZABETH (Caller): Hi, Neal. I tell you, I just, three hours ago, left the Mesa Court, where I was facing a ticket that I got August 5th. I got pulled over by a real policeman to inform me that I was speeding and my license was suspended. Totally new to me. I've had a photo radar tickets, but I'm not happy that I paid them.

In this case, apparently my license had been for 10 years because of a ticket I got in 1999 that I never received, was never served, never heard about until August 5th of this year.

CONAN: Wow. And does this all been resolved now?

ELIZABETH: No, I was in court today (unintelligible) continuance on my current charges because now I have been assigned by the city of Scottsdale a hearing on October 1st to go and defend myself. And the beauty of this is that they don't even have the ticket in the system because it's so old. All they can tell me is that I owe $252.50. They can't provide me with a photo or the ticket.

CONAN: Good luck, Elizabeth. I'm sorry to hear that.

(Soundbite of laughter)


CONAN: Bye-bye. And here's an email from Michael(ph) in Woodbury, Minnesota. We have the red light cameras in the city of Minneapolis. They were ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court because the ticket was issued to the registered owner of the car, not to the driver of the car. The city was forced to stop using the red light cameras and actually refund any and all fines that were put in place with the red light cameras.

And, Leon James, as we continue to do this, as we get new technologies, or at least new to this country like the laser cameras, and these court cases clearly - this is a development that's going to keep happening.

Prof. JAMES: Yes. Actually, it's just the beginning. And it's a social, cultural and technological combination of revolution going on here. And I think you have all the political attitudes that people have towards government coming out here.

And basically, what I heard today, everybody has a certain point and that it's valid. But the problem, again, I'll come back to the idea how law enforcement and government manages these automated devices in their relationship to drivers. And I think it's - more is at stake than either just revenue or even bringing conditions down.

CONAN: And transparency, you seem to be saying, is a key. Give the drivers warning where the cameras are on the road, give the drivers warning that cameras are going to be installed.

Prof. JAMES: Absolutely, because these things have the purpose of slowing down the drivers. And so, the more cooperation you have from the drivers, the more these things are successful, and the more it's accepted by people.

And so, warning them, for instance, way ahead of time - okay, let's say, camera coming in, let's say, 5,000 meters, 1,000 meters, people know and they don't have to slow down and create hazards behind them like some people have pointed out.

CONAN: Professor James, thanks very much for your time.

Prof. JAMES: Thank you.

CONAN: Leon James, with us from his home in Kailua, Hawaii. He's a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and the co-author of the book "Road Rage and Aggressive Driving."

Coming up, one of the newest additions to the bin Laden book club. Stephen Walt on being included on the must-read list of the world's most notorious terrorist who, apparently, skipped some sections of his book. We'll find out more about that in a couple of minutes. Stay with us.

I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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