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Thursday, 09 August 2018 17:29

Analysis: Red-Light Cameras Don’t Reduce Traffic Accidents or Improve Public Safety

Written by Staff, The Daily

Index

 

 

The process of using the cameras to issue traffic citations---mailed to a vehicle’s registered owner---has largely withstood legal challenges. But their use has also been heavily scrutinized as mere revenue generators, with most programs administered by out-of-state, for-profit contractors. Tens of millions of dollars were collected from drivers in Houston and Dallas during the years analyzed for the paper.

 

“There is clear evidence that installing a camera reduces the number of vehicles running a red light,” Gallagher said, “but the predicted relationship between the number of vehicles running red lights and the total number of accidents is ambiguous---and certainly not compelling enough to justify some claims of proponents of these devices.”

 

Data on the types of injuries ocurring in these traffic accidents (fatalities, incapacitating and non-incapacitating, and more minor) failed to provide a case in which the cameras increased the safety of intersections where they’re installed, Gallagher said.

 

In 2015, more than 35,000 people died and 2.4 million were injured in traffic accidents nationally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

While the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends a set yellow-light caution length of 3 to 6 seconds, there is no uniformity among intersections.

 

The study’s co-author was Paul Fisher, a graduate student in economics at the University of Arizona and a 2017 Case Western Reserve graduate.

 

We thank The Daily for reprint permission. 


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