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Support wanes as red light cameras prove a double-edged sword

Red light running is behind many auto, bicyclist and pedestrian accidents in Georgia, some of which are fatal. In a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, 92.9% of drivers said they know that running a red light is wrong, yet 42.7% admitted to doing it at least once in the previous 30 days.

To fight this trend, many communities started installing traffic-enforcement cameras, or red light cameras, at certain intersections. These cameras take photographs of drivers who run red lights and allow police to issue traffic tickets to them. The positive effect of these cameras has been analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

For instance, the cameras reduce the number of red light running violations by 40%. Big cities with cameras experience 21% fewer red light running crash deaths than do the big cities without them. There was a 17% increase in such deaths from 2012 to 2018, but it should be noted that between these seven years, the number of communities with red light cameras dropped from 533 to 421.

This drop is due to the lack of public support for red light cameras, which are often installed for revenue-generating purposes. Cities that install the cameras and then shorten the yellow lights may issue more traffic tickets, but they raise the risk for rear-end collisions, too.

Like many safety devices, red light cameras have proven to be a double-edged sword. However, they may be of benefit during a motor vehicle accident investigation. Those who are hurt at the hands of a red light runner may file a claim, and an investigation might help in determining degree of fault and the amount that victims can recover in damages. With a lawyer, victims may have access to a network of investigators and other third parties to build up their case.

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