Could Red Light Cameras Help Reduce Florida Car Accidents?
According to a new study, use of red light cameras has been linked to a lower risk of fatal car accidents. The study, conducted by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, concluded that fatal car accidents decreased by 24% across 14 cities that implemented the cameras. The cities have only implemented red light cameras since 1996 and in some cases only since 2004, so some experts warn that it is too early to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the technology.
Red light cameras are a type of technology which allow cities and communities to place the cameras at specific intersections – often at higher-risk intersections – where the cameras are operational year-round on a 24-hour basis. The cameras automatically detect and photograph any motorists running red lights. Some of the newer cameras can also capture other violations, such as illegal turns or speeding. When the cameras detect a violation, they photograph the car and the license plate associated with the car. The driver of that vehicle is then sent a ticket in the mail.
Red light cameras have recently been used to help prevent Florida car accidents, too. Since September 2010, Fort Lauderdale has had six red light cameras in use. Since then, the city has reported that accidents at those intersections have dropped from 50 to 39. In addition to Fort Lauderdale, other Florida communities have introduced red light cameras, and many have reported a reduction in the number of Florida car accidents in their communities. Currently, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Juno Beach, Pembroke Pines, Opa-locka, Hallandale Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Homestead, Miami Shores, Miami Gardens, Golden Beach, North Miami, North Bay Village, and West Miami all have red light camera programs in place.
Proponents of red light camera programs claim that the cameras can help prevent Florida pedestrian accidents and car accidents by making drivers more cautious. When drivers know that their traffic violations will be captured on camera, experts claim, they drive more carefully, which makes the roads safer for everyone. Red light cameras also free up law enforcement officials for other tasks.
Opponents of red light cameras claim that the camera programs are expensive and may violate individual driver rights. In many cases, drivers oppose red light cameras – especially if they receive tickets from the system. In some cases, drivers have claimed that red light cameras have incorrectly read their speeds or have incorrectly sent them tickets. In other states, drivers have been able to successfully defend themselves from red light camera tickets in court.