Study: Red Light Cameras Reduce Crashes

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(Photo by Fringehog/Flickr)

New research says red light cameras in Texas have dramatically reduced crashes in that state.

The findings: crashes in which drivers run red lights dropped by 25 percent, and the most severe type of crash -- crashes in which one car hits the side of another -- dropped by 32 percent. TTI says reductions were seen across the board on all types of roadways.

But red light cameras are not always popular, and opponents of the cameras say they're revenue generators, not safety devices. Voters in Houston narrowly rejected red in last November's election, but a federal judge invalidated the ballot measure and the cameras were turned back on.

The new study, commissioned by the Texas State Department of Transportation and conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, looked at 275 intersections statewide where the cameras were in place, and compared crash frequencies before and after installation of the cameras.

One type of collision actually rose: rear end collisions. The report attributes that to tailgating.

“These findings show clearly that red light cameras offer significant safety benefits,” says Troy Walden, the author of the TTI study. “Most important, they help prevent the most severe and deadly type of intersection crashes.”

You can download a copy of the report here (pdf),