Red Light Cameras Decrease Crash Frequency And Save Lives

September 27, 2016

Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that red light programs saved more than 1,000 people in over 75 cities across the United States. They warned that shutting these programs down would cost people their lives. Their research showed that fatal crashes from people running red lights increased by 30 percent in cities where the programs were discontinued.


In 2014, there were over 700 deaths from accidents caused by drivers who ran red lights and at least 125,000 injuries as well. The people who ran the red lights only accounted for a small fraction of the fatalities. In most cases, the victims were passengers in the offender's car, passengers in other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians.


Cameras and speed detectors discourage people from running red lights. Although the helping hands of law enforcement are also a powerful factor, there are not enough officers to stand at every major intersection. Also, their odds of being injured while directing traffic are higher.


Several surveys showed that there is widespread public support for intersection cameras. However, the disapproval of some groups has led to many programs being canceled. Some places are still launching new programs. In 2015, there were about 465 communities with red light cameras.


Support For Enforcement


In an IIHS forum, law enforcement representatives from across the country spoke about safety and red light programs. One of the important points emphasized regularly was helping the public understand the importance of these programs and their function in keeping everyone safe. They pointed out that people need to see the programs as safety tools and not misperceive them as income generators. A good solution for this is to separate the general funds and revenues from red light cameras.


Consistent data collection and transparency were also issues highlighted as priorities by representatives. The IIHS included a demonstration crash to show what an accident would look like at an intersection. The crash featured a Ford truck hitting a left-turning Chrysler sedan while traveling at a speed of almost 50 miles per hour. Injuries for the innocent driver of the sedan included multiple fractures and a concussion.


In earlier studies, the forum's researchers found that red light cameras led to a major decline in people running red lights. Also, the effect seemed to extend to other intersection lights in the city that did not have red light cameras. When people were aware of multiple cameras across the city, they were more cautious about their driving upon approaching a red or yellow light. All of the similar previous studies from 2011 until today showed a consistency between declining crash fatalities caused by red-light-running offenders and the presence of red light cameras.

To learn more about safety and red light cameras, discuss your concerns with an agent.



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