The findings by the institute, which is a nonprofit group funded by the insurance industry, states that in 14 of the largest cities in America, 159 lives were saved during the time-frame of 2004 to 2008 due to red-light cameras. The design of the camera is to capture motor vehicles that are running red lights. Researchers claim if they had been operating in all large cities in America during this time-frame, 815 lives would have been saved.
Red-light crashes or T-bone crashes as they are often referred to are some of the most dangerous traffic intersection accidents. The occupant of the vehicle in which the red light runner collides with is especially vulnerable because there is less protection for the vehicle surrounding them to absorb the impact of the crash.
According to government data released in 2009, fatalities that resulted from red-light running amounted to 676.This number decreased from previous years.
In 2008 14 out of 99 American cities with more than 200,000 residents where identified as having installed the cameras between the years of 2004 and 2008- becoming the primary study group. The study based data on two date ranges- a period which included the period of 1992 – 96 when no cameras had been installed and the second during the years of 2004 – 08 when cameras had been installed.
The study also included 48 cities that had not installed the red-light traffic cameras. As part of the study the research grouped these cities fatality data into the 1992 – 96 and 2004 – 08 date ranges for consistency.
The astonishing results report that of the 14 cities that had installed the traffic cameras a combined per capita rate of fatal crashes dropped by a combined 35% prior to the cameras being installed in the cities from the dates of 1992 – 96. Of 48 cities in the United States with no cameras installed the death rate also fell, but by 14%.
According to the insurance institute, accidents caused by red-light runners are one of the most dangerous intersection accidents. Although the study does show that lives have been saved with the cameras, there are concerns by critics that the number of accidents caused by rear-ends will increase. There are also concerns of the cameras being a means for cities to generate income and an invasion to personal privacy.