New Red Light Cameras Reduce, Prevent Accidents
Technology is becoming more and more accessible every day for all users. Here’s a look at how law enforcement is using the latest advancements in technology to stop speeding drivers.
Running a red light is very dangerous and can lead to accidents and injuries. It seems to happen more and more every day. However, law enforcement has taken a big step towards deterring and preventing red light runners. In many towns and cities, new Red-Light Cameras are being introduced that will photograph a driver and their car in the event that they run a red light. This will work as an excellent deterrent and preventative measure from speeding drivers and people who run red lights.
Since the introduction of red-light cameras in certain communities, the roads have been getting safer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed the results of the installation of several red-light cameras in large cities during a four-year period, between 2004 and 2008. With these photos, law enforcement had concrete evidence to punish people who ran red lights. The Institute found that there was a 24% reduction in fatal crashes that were caused by drivers running a red light. The Insurance Institute for highway Safety also noted that had there been red-light cameras in all major cities in the United States, over 800 deaths could have been prevented. The IIHS reports that nearly 700 people were killed in accidents that involved a driver running a red light, in addition to over 100,000 injuries from those car accidents. Of all of those accidents, only one third of the total deaths were the drivers of the vehicles that ran the red lights.
As if saving lives weren’t enough, the courts have emphatically declared that the cameras are legal. The U.S. Supreme Court has described driving as a regulated activity on public roads where there is no personal expectation of privacy. The law is clear: Red-light cameras do not violate our privacy. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that cameras do not violate procedural due process, stating that “no one has a fundamental right to run a red light or avoid being seen by a camera on a public street.”
The same court ruled that the city of Chicago’s photo enforcement system did not violate the Constitution. When obtaining a license to drive, motorists agree to follow traffic rules and regulations, including stopping on red and following the speed limit. There is nothing hidden about safety cameras—from their presence in particular intersections to the driver’s right to view the data collected by the cameras.
More than 600 communities across the country operate red-light camera systems that improve the safety on their roadways. These communities are implementing strong standards in their camera programs to ensure they maximize safety benefits and operate with total transparency.
Law enforcement agencies and transportation officials understand that safety measures evolve and improve over time. Traffic lights, crosswalk signals, seat belts, and air bags—to name just a few—have made driving safer. The same goes for enforcement tools; dispatch systems, radar technology, and traffic cameras all help keep us safe. These tools let law enforcement do their jobs efficiently and catch drivers who are breaking laws and threatening community safety.