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How Red Light Cameras Impact Accident Statistics

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Jeff Sevey

Many cities across the country have installed red-light cameras at traffic intersections in an effort to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers running red lights. It should come as no surprise that when drivers fail to obey traffic signals, serious injury accidents can occur. These accidents often have severe consequences for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. Data from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department indicates that in urban areas accidents caused by drivers running red lights are more likely to result in injuries than in other car accidents. Further, passengers are at a 15% greater risk of suffering from injuries in red light collisions than in other kinds of accidents.

In Sacramento, there are over 4,000 crashes annually with more than half of those accidents occurring at traffic intersections. In over half of those 4,000 collisions, at least one individual is injured. If you have been injured in an accident where a motorist ran a red light, you have the right to take legal action to secure compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the crash.

At The Sevey Law Firm, we understand that being in an accident is a traumatic event that can leave you and your family dealing with many short and long-term consequences. You do not have to face these challenges alone. If you have been injured or if you lost a loved one in a traffic accident caused by a motorist who ran a red light, contact the experienced and compassionate Roseville and Sacramento area attorneys at The Sevey Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation by calling (916) 788-7100.

What Are The Consequences of Motorists Running Red Lights?

In some instances, a driver who runs a red light may pass through the intersection with no consequences. Unfortunately, failing to stop at a red light is more likely to result in a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist. Some common reasons why motorists run red lights are:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failure to slow down while approaching an intersection
  • Failure to decelerate at a yellow light
  • Inclement weather

Unfortunately, running a red light can result in a T-bone collision, head-on collision or other serious injury accidents. Victims may suffer broken bones, internal organ damage,, head, neck and spine trauma, and severe bruising, among other injuries. Some alarming nationwide statistics from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) show how serious these accidents can be, including:

  • In 2016, 811 people died in accidents caused by red-light running
  • In 2015, approximately 137,000 people were injured in red-light running related crashes

Do Red Light Cameras Help Prevent Accidents?

In California and across the nation, red-light cameras have been installed to decrease accidents caused by motorists who deliberately or negligently run red lights. Since they were first implemented in the early 1990s, there have been many critics and advocates of red light cameras. Some criticisms of red light cameras include:

  • Cameras are ineffective for public-safety and instead are used to generate revenue from traffic citations
  • Cameras cost too much money to install, maintain, and operate
  • Cameras actually cause an increase in accidents at traffic intersections because they cause drivers to stop abruptly thereby increasing rear-end collisions

According to a study sponsored by AAA Foundation, 94% of motorists say that running a red light is unacceptable, and drivers should always attempt to safely stop. 36% of those motorists surveyed, however, said they had run a red light in the past 30 days. Even so, in recent years, motorists have supported the use of red-light cameras if they help reduce accidents. In the study by American Traffic Solutions (sponsored by AAA), 54.6% of drivers were in favor of using red light cameras in urban areas, and 53.3% of drivers were in favor of using red light cameras in residential areas.

More recent data from the Federal Highway Association suggest that even in cities with increased rear-end accidents, red-light cameras overall have a significant impact on reducing auto accidents at traffic intersections and decreasing injuries, death, and economic losses due to auto accidents. If nothing else, red lights cameras cause motorists to drive more alertly and approach intersections with more caution. Prior to red light cameras being installed, some cities found that during high traffic volume times motorists ran red lights as frequently as every 20 minutes.

When comparing traffic accidents in large cities that have red-light cameras versus those that do not, IIHS data shows that in red light camera intersections:

  • Red-light running fatal crashes declined by 21%
  • All types of fatal crashes at intersections were reduced by 14%
  • Injuries resulting from red-light running crashes decreased by 29%

While cities that turned off their red-light cameras saw:

  • A 30% increase in red-light running fatal crashes
  • A 16% increase in all types of fatal crashes at intersections

Overall, it seems clear that red light cameras are helpful in reducing the number of traffic intersections accidents and accident-related costs.

Red light cameras are no longer active in Roseville. In Sacramento, there are currently 11 intersections that make use of red light running cameras. They are:

  • Mack Road & La Mancha Way/Valley Hi Drive
  • El Camino Avenue & Evergreen Street
  • Howe Avenue & Fair Oaks Boulevard
  • Mack Road & Center Parkway
  • Exposition Boulevard & Ethan Way
  • Broadway & 21st Street
  • Folsom Boulevard & Howe Avenue/Power Inn Road
  • Arden Way & Challenge Way
  • 5th Street & I Street
  • 16th Street & W Street
  • Alhambra Boulevard & J Street

Contact The Sevey Law Firm

Being in an accident is a traumatic event that can force the victim and their family to deal with physical and emotional trauma that is not just life-altering but can also be expensive. If you were hurt due to another driver’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses. , Contact the compassionate and experienced Roseville and Sacramento car accident attorneys at The Sevey Law Firm to find out how we can help you. Call us today at (916) 788-7100 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.

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