Red light cameras have been widely used in New York and across the country in an attempt to cut down on the number of deaths and injuries caused by cars running through traffic signals. However, the systems have also come in for criticism because one of the major effects of the cameras is to send out tickets to violators. The cameras are positioned above traffic lights and capture photos of cars that speed through red lights, including their license plates. Without ever being stopped by police in person, violators receive a traffic ticket in the mail.
Running a red light is clearly a traffic violation, and the reason for this is backed up by the statistics. Each year, around 800 people across the country are killed in motor vehicle accidents linked to drivers violating red light laws, and thousands more are injured. Critics argue, however, that the camera systems aren’t meant to make the roads safer; they simply aim to increase revenue. Opponents point to the implementation in some cities where hefty fines and red light cameras were combined with shortened yellow light timing. As a result, rear-end car crashes actually went up as drivers rushed to get through yellow lights and avoid a ticket.
Red light cameras have a great deal of potential when implemented wisely. Studies show that cities with the cameras have a 21% lower fatality rate from red light-related car accidents and 40% fewer violations. Experts advise that the systems should be implemented with a safety-focused approach, including warning signs informing motorists about the cameras.
Whether cameras are installed or not, negligent drivers pose a serious risk to others on the road. Those who have been injured in a motor vehicle collision because someone else ran a red light may turn to a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for their losses.