Red-light-cameras are widely hated by the drivers in various cities of the United States. Though they might be annoying, they end up saving lives of the people, suggests a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Red light camera programs in 79 large U.S. cities saved nearly 1,300 lives through 2014, researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have found. Shutting down such programs costs lives, with the rate of fatal red-light-running crashes shooting up 30 percent in cities that have turned off cameras, the study suggests.
While, red-light-running crashes caused 709 deaths in 2014 and an estimated 126,000 injuries, red light runners account for a minority of the people killed in such crashes.
IIHS researchers looked at the 57 cities of 200,000 or more people that activated cameras between 1992 and 2014 and didn’t shut them off. They compared the trends in annual per capita fatal crash rates in those cities with the trends in 33 cities that never had cameras.
After accounting for the effects of population density and unemployment rates, the researchers found there were 21 percent fewer fatal red-light-running crashes per capita in cities with cameras than would have occurred without cameras and 14 percent fewer fatal crashes of all types at signalized intersections.
When applied to all 57 cities, as well as 22 cities that started and ended camera programs, the lower intersection crash rate translates into 1,296 lives saved during the years the cameras were operational.
The second part of the study looked at 14 cities that ended their camera programs between 2010 and 2014.
The fatal red-light-running crash rate was 30 percent higher in cities that turned off cameras than it would have been if the cameras remained on. The rate of fatal crashes at signalized intersections was 16 percent higher.
“Debates over automated enforcement often center on the hassle of getting a ticket and paying a fine,” said the institute’s president, Adrian Lund.
“It’s important to remember that there are hundreds of people walking around who wouldn’t be here if not for red light cameras. Sadly, there are 63 families who are missing a loved one because these life-saving programs were cancelled.”