Research on the benefits of red light cameras that was gathered by a nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to reducing traffic fatalities found that red light running rates declined at intersections in Arlington County, Va. that were equipped with cameras.
The report—Effects of Red Light Camera Enforcement on Red Light Violations in Arlington County, Virginia—issued by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety says the decreases were particularly large for the most dangerous violations, those happening 1.5 seconds or longer after the light turned red.
“What these numbers show is that those violations most likely to lead to a crash are reduced the most,” said Anne McCartt, the IIHS’ senior vice president for research and the study’s lead author. “The longer the light has been red when a violator enters an intersection, the more likely the driver is to encounter a vehicle traveling in another direction or a pedestrian.”
The Traffic Safety Coalition, an organization focused on safe motoring, hailed the report’s findings saying decreases in red light running means drivers are changing their behavior because of photo enforcement. A red light camera “allows drivers to slow down, stop on red and ensure the safety of all road users,” says Paul Oberhauser, the coalition’s co-chair. “This new study shows red light cameras save lives,” he adds.
Additional findings of the study are:
- One year after the start of ticketing, the odds of a red light running violation at the camera locations went down.
- Violations occurring at least 0.5 seconds after the light turned red were 39 percent less likely than would have been expected without a camera.
- Violations occurring at least one second after the light turned red were 48 percent less likely than would have been expected without a camera.
- Odds of a violation occurring at least 1.5 seconds into the red phase fell 86 percent than would have been expected without a camera.