Red Light Cameras Save Lives
Insurance group study finds automatic red light cameras improve safety.
Wrecks caused by red light runners killed nearly 700 people and injured another 113,000 in 2009.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety releases a report this morning that concludes those numbers would have been a lot higher were it not for hundreds of cities now using red light cameras at intersections.
"Their fatal crashes were 25% less than would have been expected from red-light-running compared to the cities that did not adopt camera enforcement," says IIHS President Adrian Lund.
The report says cameras at intersections are saving lives mainly because drivers are also interested in saving money.
"That's what we think the psychology of red light camera enforcement is..it makes people aware that this is an infraction that's going to be enforced and people don't want to get tickets," Lund says. "So, they pay more attention when they're approaching intersections."
The institute estimates if cameras had been in place in all of the country's big cities in a recent five year period, over 800 deaths could have been avoided.
Even though critics maintain red light cameras can violate privacy and other rights over 500 American cities use them, compared to just 25 ten years ago.
The Institute used data collected from 14 cities that had red light cameras during the five-year period 2004-through-2008 and compared it to the five year period of 1992-through-1996 when those same cities did not have the cameras.