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Controversy surrounds red light cameras in spite of benefits

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Plenty of drivers feel that they can run red lights in Brooklyn, and they may wind up injuring themselves and others. Red light-running crashes can be fatal, too. In 2016, for example, these traffic violations led to more than 800 fatalities nationwide according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Of these, over half were pedestrians, cyclists or occupants of vehicles other than the guilty party’s.

How Red Light Cameras Help

Perhaps you were injured by a red light runner, and you’re wondering what can be done to curb such behavior. What many cities have done is install traffic-enforcement cameras at the most dangerous intersections.

The benefits are clear: IIHS data shows that cameras lower red light-running violations by about 40%. Comparing big cities with red light cameras to those without them, the IIHS found that those with cameras see 21% fewer red light-running crash fatalities.

Controversy Surrounding Camera Use

However, many cities have been removing their cameras due to public opposition, and other cities struggle to implement them because of lack of public support. From 2012 to 2018, the number of communities with cameras declined from 533 to 421.

The controversy surrounds the way some cities use cameras not so much to save lives as to generate revenue. Chicago, for instance, had the largest red light camera system in 2014. Its yellow light duration was also the shortest that’s allowable. This led, as expected, to more traffic tickets, but it had one adverse effect: There were more rear-end collisions as drivers would brake hard to avoid detection from the cameras.

When Crashes Lead to Catastrophic Injuries

When drivers speed past red lights and cause auto accidents, they can sometimes leave the victims dealing with catastrophic injuries, especially brain and spinal injuries. In such cases, victims or their family may consider seeing a lawyer to learn how they might be compensated under personal injury law.