Red light cameras keep drivers safe in a couple different ways, but they have additional benefits that help improve communities, too.
September 8, 2017 ·
by Mary Kurz
Red light cameras benefit society in a number of ways. They are there to prevent collision due to drivers running red lights, not just to annoy drivers or make more money. Red light cameras prevent accidents, save lives, and save money. The statistics speak volumes on the benefits of red light cameras. In this article, Benefit 1 explains how red light cameras save lives, Benefit 2 describes how red light cameras prevent injuries, Benefit 3 notes the money that is saved, and Benefit 4 mentions how fines from violations are donated to good causes.
Red light cameras are programmed to snap a picture when a car’s front bumper first crosses into an intersection after the light turns red and again after a few seconds. The camera is usually triggered when the car travels over two induction-loop sensors imbedded in the asphalt. The pictures, along with a ticket for running a red light, are mailed to the registered owner of the car.
Some states hold the owner responsible, regardless of who is driving, while other states hold the driver responsible. In states where the driver is held responsible, the camera will snap a picture of the driver’s face, too. The citation is still sent to the owner of the car, but the driver is responsible for paying the fine.
While it may seem as though red light cameras wouldn’t really prevent collisions, they really do make a difference. When drivers are aware that there are red light cameras in the area, they are much more likely to stop when the light turns yellow, instead of trying to speed up to beat the light.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS], red light-running crashes caused 709 deaths in 2014. Over half of those deaths were people who were hit by the car that ran the red light. They included people on bicycles, on foot, and in other vehicles.
Red light cameras could have saved the lives of about 148 of those people. In Nassau County, Florida there weren’t any fatal crashes at intersections equipped with red light cameras between 2010 and 2014.
Red light cameras prevent serious injuries that can cause irreparable physical and psychological damage to the victims. People who suffer serious injuries from being hit by a red light runner may lose their jobs, their mobility, and their ability to enjoy life. The monetary consequences alone can be devastating. These victims are often pedestrians walking to work or bicyclists out for a pleasant ride.
Between 2011 and 2015, fatalities from red light crashes cost the public $390 million every month. Every single fatal crash costs the public nearly $7 million. These costs are spread out between the victims, families of the victims, insurance providers, taxpayers and the government.
Public revenues that should be earmarked for community improvement cover about 7% of the costs of car crashes. More red light cameras could result in big savings for everyone.
Fines paid for running a red light are often used to improve the community or are donated toward humanitarian efforts. For example, Florida donated over $11 million of funds generated by red light-camera citations toward the research for a cure for paralysis due to spinal cord injury. They also donated another $38 million to area trauma centers.
Make sure you have a good car insurance policy that will pay for the damages if you are ever an unfortunate victim of a red light runner. Part of being a responsible driver is taking steps to protect yourself as much as possible while on the road.
by Mary Kurz
by Cheryl Knight