A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Arlington, Va., finds that the number of red light offences decrease when an automated red-light camera is in place.
“What these numbers show is that those violations most likely to lead to a crash are reduced the most,” said Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at IIHS. “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 IIHS installed cameras at four busy intersections in Arlington and then observed them during a 30-day warning period. A second observation period took place a month after ticketing began and for a third time after a year had passed. They also observed four other intersections in the city, along with four intersections in a neighboring county.
One year after installing the cameras, along with signs alerting drivers to them, the findings were positive. Violations occurring at least 0.5 seconds after the light turned red were 39 percent less likely than before, while violations occurring at least 1 second after were 48 percent less likely. The most deadly of the red light runs occur 1.5 seconds after the light has gone red, and these types of infractions fell 86 percent thanks to the cameras.
The number of American cities that use automated red light cameras now sits at 540, and it still expected to grow.