Do red light cameras really prevent car crashes in Virginia?

One way that serious auto accidents are caused is by red-light running – when a driver ignores the traffic signal and drives into the intersection even though the light is red.  This type of action often results in dangerous front-to-side impact crashes that can be deadly for the drivers of both vehicles and their passengers.  Pedestrians are also in danger from drivers who run red lights.  In order to cut down on the number of people who run red lights many municipalities have considered installing red light cameras, and four intersections in Virginia Beach have been approved for their use.


How big a problem is red light running?


Experts estimate that around 20 percent of drivers responsible for causing fatal crashes failed to obey the traffic signals.  As a result nearly 1,000 people a year are killed and over 150,000 are injured in auto accidents caused by red light runners.  Red light running is especially a problem in urban areas, where injuries are seen in 45 percent of all red light running cases.


A study conducted in Fairfax Virginia several years ago that found drivers were running a red light every 20 minutes.  The risk of a serious collision is there each time a driver runs a red light, which makes busy intersections dangerous places indeed.  The study also found that during rush hour impatient, aggressive drivers ran red lights even more often.


Can cameras cut down on red light running?


Red light cameras are one way that law enforcement officials want to try to cut down on the number of intersection crashes in Virginia.  Camera evaluations in Fairfax have supported their use, indicating a 40 percent reduction in the number of red light running violations.  In addition, combining a red light camera with a longer yellow light seems to dramatically reduce the number of red light runs – one study saw a 96 percent reduction.  Other studies have revealed that the number of front-into-side impact crashes (a “t-bone” crash) go down when red light cameras are installed.


However, this does not mean that the cameras are without controversy.  In addition to privacy-right concerns, many motorists are skeptical of the benefits promised by red light camera studies.  There are other studies indicating that while red light cameras may reduce the number of t-bone crashes, they increase the number of rear-end collisions.  This is because drivers are more likely to slam on their brakes to avoid running a red light, causing the person behind them to collide with them if they are following too closely.


Red light cameras in Virginia Beach


Despite the controversy surrounding the use of red light cameras they are here in Virginia Beach.  You can see a list of intersections with installed red light cameras, intersections approved for red light cameras, and intersections that may get red light cameras in our blog post “Red light cameras in Virginia Beach”.


To speak with a lawyer about a car or truck accident case in southeastern Virginia or North Carolina please contact the personal injury attorneys at Tavss Fletcher.



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