A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows these devices reduce fatalities.
There aren’t a lot of vocal fans in favor of red light cameras. However, according to a new study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), these controversial gadgets may be more useful than we think.
The study revealed that these stoplight cameras do, in fact, save lives when they are installed at intersections.
Moreover, the IIHS research also pointed out that when cities remove red light cameras, accidents at those intersections rose by 30 percent. Still, while the study showed strong overall community support for these safety devices, those opposed have been more vocal. Many jurisdictions have responded to the community members who have made the most noise, regardless of their numbers. This has led several to shut off the cameras. The IIHS study recorded a rise in crashes at those intersections following the device removal.
There are still programs for red light cameras being launched in a number of communities across the U.S.
That said, the number of communities using traffic light cameras dropped from its peak in 2012 at 533 to 467 last year. The study found that those programs saved an estimated 1,300 lives among 79 large American cities from 2012 through 2014. The reason, said the IIHS, is that when the programs are shut down, red light running rises. The number of crashes and fatalities rise along with it.
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This not only increases the risks of accidents and death at those intersections but it may also cause auto insurance premiums to rise. The insurance industry tracks the number of crashes that occur in different areas across the country. When there are more accidents within a certain place, that location is considered to be a higher risk. When more risk is involved, it can mean that drivers pay more simply for having to use those roads.
According to Adrian Lund, IIHS president, “We know we have a problem: people dying at signalized intersections because of people running red lights.” Lund was quoted when presenting the new research. “We know red light cameras are part of the solution,” he said.