Red light cameras are effective but losing public support

Hundreds of people in Missouri and across the U.S. die each year because of drivers who run red lights. Most of the time, it’s not these drivers who die in the crash; it’s the occupant of another vehicle, a pedestrian or a bicyclist. For a long time, it was understood that red light cameras could act as a deterrent against red light running and thus save lives. However, public support for cameras has been waning.

First, the benefits are clear. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows how cameras bring down the number of red light running violations by 40%. The IIHS also compared big cities with cameras to big cities without them and found that the former see 21% fewer deaths from red light running accidents.

The main reason for waning public support is that cameras have, in some cases, become just another part of a city’s revenue-generating plans. Chicago, for instance, owned the largest red light camera system back in 2014. At the same time, the duration of its yellow lights was the shortest allowable, leading to more traffic tickets as well as rear-end collisions.

Many communities have removed their cameras or restricted their use. In 2012, a total of 533 communities had camera systems. In 2018, that number was 421.

Car accidents involving red light running can become the subject of a personal injury claim. Any traffic violation is, after all, a form of negligence. Those who were injured may want to talk with a lawyer before moving forward. They may want to hire that lawyer because gathering evidence and negotiating a settlement all alone can be difficult. In the end, victims might be compensated for their past and future medical expenses, any wages they lost while recovering and pain and suffering.