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Red-light cameras may increase safety, decrease car accidents

Red-light cameras have come under debate lately. Supporters claim that traffic cameras increase safety while opponents say that they allow police departments to issue more traffic citations.

A new study may shed some light on how effective traffic cameras are. Red-light cameras can significantly reduce the number of vehicles who run red lights, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This could presumably lead to fewer car accidents caused by drivers running red-lights.

The study lead by the IIHS found that one year after red-light cameras were installed, infractions at these intersections declined by a significant amount. The IIHS said that drivers were 39 percent less likely to run a red light if a red-light camera was installed at the intersection when the light had been red for .5 seconds. Violations were 48 percent less likely to run a red light when the light had been red for one second, and drivers were 86 percent less likely to run a red light when the light had been red for at least 1.5 seconds.

The IIHS reported that while these results are promising, they may not necessarily be that significant. They noted that safety could be improved if transportation agencies spent more money on advertising the presence of red-light cameras. The IIHS said that when drivers know about the red-light cameras at intersections, they will be less likely to drive through the intersection unsafely, including when the light is red.

The IIHS said they will continue to test how red-light cameras impact driving behaviors and car accidents.

Source: The Car Connection, "IIHS: Red-Light Cameras Improve Safety, Reduce Violations," Richard Read, Jan. 25, 2013

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