New Study Proves Red Light Cameras Do Not Help Reduce Accidents
Rome, GA- The Rome News-Tribune today cites a research study that concludes the ever-popular red light cameras do not lower the number of accidentsthat occur at intersections. The study, conducted by Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio suggests the opposite is true: red light cameras cause more accidents than they prevent.*
Red-light cameras were installed at thousands of Georgia intersections with the intention of catching drivers who recklessly run red-lights. The camera would record the car impermissibly entering an intersection after the light turned red. The camera takes a picture of the license plates and then generates a citation, which in turn is mailed to the registered owner of the car. The car's owner becomes responsible for paying the assessed fine even if he or she was not driving.
The unintended consequence of having these cameras is people will drive recklessly to avoid running a red light and getting caught. Drivers sometimes, unintentionally, get too close to entering an intersection on a yellow caution light. They must slam on their brakes to prevent themselves from entering the intersection on red. Hard braking can lead to rear-end car accidents from people following too closely, or who were following at a safe distance but could not stop fast enough due to the sudden and unexpected braking of the car in front of them.
The study is deficient in one significant aspect. The study counts the number of accidents but fails to account for the severity of the crashes. Someone trying to avoid a ticket by not running a red light could stop short and get rear-ended, on the one hand. On the other, a driver could "blow" a red light and cause a T-bone collision. A T-bone collision has the chance to be much more severe than a rear-end crash. Rear-end crashes are dangerous and cause many painful and debilitating injuries, to be sure. Thus, any municipality that uses red-light cameras should reassess if they are successful at eliminating the harm they are trying to avoid.
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Sources: cited within.
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