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Shutting Down Red Light Camera Programs Costs Lives

Cities that choose to shut down their red light camera programs may see a spike in the number of people killed in traffic fatalities caused by red light violations.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, red light camera programs in several large American cities were responsible for saving as many as 1,300 lives in accidents through 2014. Shutting down these programs cost American lives, with fatality rates shooting up as much as 30% in cities that have chosen to shut down red light camera programs. In 2014, according to data, red light violations caused more than 700 fatalities and over 126,000 injuries.

Red light camera programs not only reduce the risk of violations, but also lead to greater adherence to the rules and fewer violations, leading to a lower risk of accidents when programs like these are publicized. In addition, when red light camera programs are in place, violators can be apprehended easily.  Unfortunately, even though the benefits of red light camera programs are easy to see, they have been met with opposition by local communities. That has led to many of these programs being shut down in several cities across the country. The total number of communities with red light camera programs in the country fell in 2014 to a total of 467, from a high of 533 in the year 2012.

In areas where the camera programs have been scrapped, there has been a significant rise in the number of fatalities caused by red light violations. In 2008, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers found 21% fewer red light violation-related accidents resulting in fatalities, compared to 14% fewer accidents of all types at signalized intersections. In contrast, in the cities that chose to turn off the red light camera programs, there was a 30% increase in fatalities in red light violation-related accidents, as well as a 16% increase in fatal accidents of all types per capita.

Several areas in Georgia are part of a nationwide group of communities that has chosen to reduce the risk of red light violation-related accidents by using these camera programs. These include Alpharetta, Clayton County, Fulton County, and Gwinnett County. These cameras deter violators, prevent potentially devastating accidents, and save lives.

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