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Do Red Light Cameras Actually Save Lives?

November 12, 2018

If you are like most people, you detest those red-light cameras and the tickets you get in the mail days or even weeks after you pass through the light. While many people are wanting red-light cameras banned across the country and many states have already made them illegal, there are those who support red-light cameras because they believe there is enough evidence to prove they save lives.

Looking at The Statistics

While those red-light cameras might be annoying, the technology they incorporate does help save lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) looked at 14 cities that had ended their red-light camera usage between 2010 and 2014. The annual crash rates of those cities were then compared with the crash rates of 29 other cities in that region that continued with red-light camera usage.

The cities that had eliminated red-light camera usage saw 30% per capita more fatal crashes involving a driver who sped through a red-light than those cities that used the cameras. From the moment that they went into operation up until 2014, there were 1,300 lives saved in 79 large U.S. cities by red-light cameras, according to the study released by the IIHS. Red-light cameras were first introduced in the early 1990s and in many cities, they were placed at the most dangerous and busiest intersections.

How the Figures Break Down

Drivers started complaining about the anxiety the cameras caused and about being ticketed since many cameras only provide photos of the vehicle and not of the driver. Drivers argued the anxiety caused by the cameras caused them to either speed up to get through the intersection or slam their brakes at the last minute to avoid getting a ticket. Many elected officials listened to the complaints and many cities started ending their red-light camera programs.

In 2012, there were 553 cities using red-light cameras, but by 2015, that number had dropped to 467. According to the IIHS, there were 709 deaths and 126,000 injuries blamed on crashes caused by a driver running a red-light in 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that figure equals about 2% of the 32,675 highway fatalities during 2014. The IIHS said that most of those who are killed by vehicles that run red-lights are pedestrians, bicyclists, or passengers of other vehicles, not drivers of the other vehicles.

More Supporting Evidence

The IIHS compared auto accident fatality data in 99 big cities from 1996 to 2004, and only 14 of those cities had red-light cameras installed. But, in those 14 cities, red-light cameras saved 159 lives, according to the study. Fatal crashes caused by vehicles running red lights dropped 35% from 2004 to 2008 versus 1992 to 1996, which was compared to a 14% drop in those cities that weren’t equipped with red-light cameras.

The cameras didn’t just reduce crashes from those running red lights. The overall rate of fatal crashes at intersections equipped with red-light cameras dropped by 14% overall. So, to sum it up, red-light cameras might be annoying, and you might dread those tickets in the mail, but in the long run, they have proven effective in reducing crashes and saving lives.

If you’ve gotten a ticket in the mail due to one of those red-light cameras in the state of Texas, then you may still be able to fight the charge. Many people don’t realize that you are within your legal rights to contest the red-light traffic ticket, which is why you may benefit from contacting an experienced traffic ticket attorney like those at Fears Nachawati. Our team has helped many Texans avoid having to pay fines and fees associated with these sorts of traffic violations.

Don’t delay in reaching out to the experienced attorneys at Fears Nachawati for your free, no obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Please call (866) 705-7584 or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.


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