Following reports that the number of red-light running traffic violations have decreased significantly in the Florida cities of Apopka and Gulf Breeze since red-light cameras were installed on certain busy roads, more Florida cities (including Sunrise, Ft. Lauderdale, and Hollywood) are considering installing the devices on their own roads. Pembroke Pines and Hallandale Beach have said that they will install the cameras, which photograph a motorist as he or she drives through a red traffic light.
Not only does getting caught running a red light lead to a traffic violation and an expensive fine for the owner of the vehicle, but the cameras are intended to prevent people from running a red light and striking a pedestrian or another motor vehicle.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 22% of all US motor vehicle accidents are a result of drivers running red lights, with at least 800 traffic fatalities occurring as a result each year. In the Broward County city of Ft. Lauderdale alone, there were 3,201 auto crashes caused by drivers running red lights last year that lead to 23 fatalities. Between 1998 and 2006 in Florida, 110 of the traffic deaths that occurred in the state happened because motorists ran red lights.
There are, of course, reports that argue that red-light cameras also increase the number of auto accidents, such as when a driver slam on the brakes in an effort to avoid running a red light and causes an auto crash instead. This is more likely to happen when other motorists are following too closely behind the vehicles in front of them.
According to a seven-year Virginia Transportation Research Council study, the number of motor vehicle accidents increased at intersections after red-light cameras were installed by 29%. Meanwhile, an Urban Transit Institute at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University study found that the number of auto accidents at intersections with red-light cameras grew by 40%, with injury crashes increasing by 40-50%.
Success with red-light cameras should earn green light from state, Sun-Sentinel.com
How Red-light Cameras Work, HowStuffWorks
Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents, USF Study Says, 2.Tbo.com, March 12, 2008
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