In a survey of 420 UAE drivers conducted by 999 Magazine, the official English monthly of the Ministry of Interior, a vast majority (71 per cent) of respondents say that they don't see speed cameras as a money-making scheme.
Close to 300 of the 420 respondents agree that most traffic accidents occur due to excessive speeds, and that speed cameras help contain speed, thereby saving lives.
However, about 20 per cent of the respondents said that they saw speed cameras as mere tools to increase government revenue while a little over 9 per cent said installation of speed cameras is a form of indirect taxation.
A report from 999 Magazine shows that fixed speed cameras are expensive to install and maintain.
On an average, a speed camera can cost anywhere between Dh150,000 to Dh400,000 to install, depending on their location, and can cost up to another Dh150,000 a year to maintain, atop the infrastructure set-up cost.
With such a high expense, it is impossible for all speed cameras to ‘turn a profit'.
Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999 Magazine, said: "The real value of the speed cameras is in the socio-economic savings.
“Speeding accidents result in most deaths on UAE roads, as well as damage to property.
“The combined cost of these accidents completely dwarfs the revenue generated by speeding fines, emphasising the necessity of stricter speed monitoring and destroying the argument that speed cameras are simply there for profit."
The findings of a study by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, presented in April 2012, showed that car accidents cost the UAE nearly Dh17 billion in socio-economic losses in just three years (2009-2011).
More than 62 per cent of respondents to the 999 survey on speed cameras maintain the real economic benefit of such cameras is not from the generated fines but from the reduction in accidents and deaths.
The special report is published in the September edition of English 999 magazine, a part of the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of the Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the Ministry and Abu Dhabi Police.
It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety in the UAE.