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How red-light cameras may lower accident rates

Red-light running crashes kill hundreds of people every year in California and across the U.S. In 2016, the number came to more than 800, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More than half of the fatalities are individuals other than the red-light runner: pedestrians, bicyclists, occupants of other vehicles etc.

In a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 92.9% of drivers acknowledged that running a stoplight is dangerous. Yet 42.7% admitted to doing it at least once in the previous 30 days. Lack of awareness, then, is hardly the issue. Many experts are encouraging the use of red-light cameras as a way to reduce not only traffic violations but also accidents.

Cameras are proven to be effective. The IIHS found that cameras cut the number of violations by 40%. Comparing big cities with red-light cameras to those without, the IIHS discovered that the former saw 21% fewer red-light running crash fatalities. Of course, the cameras must be properly implemented. There have been legitimate complaints about cities using cameras as a way to generate revenue.

There are numerous ways that cities can build public support for camera systems. Community members can be part of advisory committees, for example, and give input during regular program reviews. Signage can alert drivers to the presence of cameras.

Car accidents caused by red-light runners can provide clear grounds for a personal injury claim. Victims may even have the evidence gained by a red-light camera to support their case. Still, filing any kind of claim can be complicated, so victims are advised to see a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers have a network of investigators and other third parties who can build up a case. Lawyers themselves may handle negotiations and litigate if a settlement cannot be achieved.

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