Red light cameras are helping drivers remember that red means stop and are saving lives, according to a new study out today by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The study concludes that the cameras have reduced the rate of fatal crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that introduced red light cameras between 1996 and 2004.
“Red light cameras are working,” said institute President Adrian Lund. “There are hundreds of people who are alive because some communities had the courage to use this method of enforcement.”
Ashlen Wilson, a Peoria resident who works at Monte Vista Cleaners at 83rd Avenue and Thunderbird Road, said she’s noticed a difference since red light cameras were installed at the intersection.
Wilson, who also lives down street, said she’s watched throughout the years as drivers have sped through the intersection and caused many accidents.
“I’ve feared for my safety many times, because people used to run through the light here all of the time,” Wilson said. “But now people are more aware of slowing down and not running the light as much with the cameras being right here.”
But Wilson said there is a downside to having red light cameras as well.
“Many people hit their brakes when they see this camera and cause fender benders sometimes,” she said. “But I’ve seen more positive than negative.”
In cities with the cameras, the study also noted drops in all fatal crashes at intersections with traffic signals, not just those caused by running red lights.
“We think that they are just paying more attention to intersections as they come up on them because they are more certain that if they violate the red light that they will get a ticket,” Lund said.