Is Running a Red Light Dangerous?
Yes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), accidents involving a motorist running a red light resulted in 683 fatalities in 2012. During the same time period, red light accidents resulted in 133,000 people being injured. Of the 683 people killed in red light accidents, 50 percent of the fatalities were among pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in vehicles hit by a car running a red light. The IIHS also pointed out that 22 percent of urban crashes were the result of drivers running a traffic control. In addition, accidents involving drivers attempting to turn right at a red light often resulted in injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists 93 percent of the time.
Do People Run Red Lights Frequently?
According to the IIHS, motorists run red lights every 20 minutes. On average, 3.2 red light violations occur every hour at intersections. Young males are most likely to run red lights, and red light runners are three times more likely to have multiple speeding convictions. In addition, people with DWI convictions are more likely to be involved in fatal red light crashes.
What are Red Light Cameras?
Red light cameras utilize sensors to detect if a car is running a red light. If a vehicle does run a red light, a camera will take a picture and a video of the incident as well as record the date and time. The video and pictures are reviewed by trained employees to determine if a violation occurred. If a violation did occur, a ticket will be mailed to the owner of the car. In most states, including New York, the owner will have to pay a fine and will not receive any points on his or her license. In Suffolk County, for instance, owners are fined $50 plus a $30 administrative fee. If the owner does not pay the ticket, he or she will be subject to an additional $25 late fee.
Do Red Light Cameras Work?
Yes. According to the IIHS, violations at intersections with red light cameras are reduced by 40 percent. The cameras reduce fatal crashes by 24 percent, accidents with injuries are reduced by 29 percent. Front-into-side collisions, popularly known as T-bone crashes, are reduced by 32 percent, and T-bone injuries are reduced by 68 percent. In Suffolk County, red light running accidents that resulted in injuries declined by 10 percent, and T-bone crashes declined by 28 percent.
Do Red Light Cameras Increase Rear-End Collisions at Intersections?
Yes. In Suffolk County, the number of rear-end collisions at red light camera intersections increased by 19 percent. The IIHS estimates rear-end collisions increase by approximately 15 percent overall. However, rear-end collisions are typically less dangerous than right-angle collisions resulting from running a red light.
Do Red Light Cameras Generate Revenue?
Yes. In 2012, Suffolk County’s 50 red light cameras generated $9.76 million. However, $5.3 million of this revenue went to a private vendor who installed and maintains the cameras.