Red-light cameras credited for fewer North Carolina car accidents

A recent study of red light camera usage reveals a near 25 percent drop in the number of fatal car accidents linked to intersection crashes across 14 cities with populations of 200,000 or more that had cameras installed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports.

The IIHS estimates that had all large cities installed cameras as many as 815 deaths could have been prevented between 2004 and 2008, the period of the study. During that time, 159 lives were spared in communities with red light cameras. Car accidents tied to running a red light claimed 676 and left more than 110,000 people injured in the U.S. in 2009. Since 2000, more than 500 cities across the nation have elected to install red light cameras, despite their perceived unpopularity.
Our car accident lawyers in Charlotte and Carolina personal injury lawyers know that while most Americans support the installation of red light cameras, there is a very vocal minority who don’t. Critics of the devices often cry “big brother” and denounce the traffic safety initiative as a privacy violation and tax on drivers.

Supporters say red light cameras are cost effective way to police, enforce and prevent both running red light crashes and fatal car accidents at intersections.

While result across each of the 14 cities varied, all but two saw a significant drop in the number of fatal car accidents where cameras were in place. In Chandler, Ariz., the number of red light and intersection-linked fatal car accidents dropped a whopping 79 percent. Curiously, Raleigh, N.C. and Bakersfield, Calif. both saw increases. City and law enforcement officials believe this phenomenon may be tied to the increase in population in both communities.

In 2008, 33 South Carolina motorists were killed and another 3,583 were injured in serious or fatal Carolina car accidents where “disregard for signs or signals” was determined to be a primary contributing factor. Another 207 fatal car accidents that left 14,000 injured were tied to intersection-related crashes, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports.

In North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Transportation reports that 21 people died and another 6,662 were injured in crashes where drivers failed to stop on red. In addition, North Carolina drivers were involved in 231 fatal intersection-linked crashes that injured more than 19,800. In total, more than 42,800 North Carolina car accidents were tied to intersection crashes in 2008.

The Lee & Smith injury attorneys in Winston-Salem, Asheville and Roxboro know that being involved in a serious or fatal Carolina car accident, or losing a loved one to a serious or fatal injury accident, can be devastating. If you are involved in a serious car accident anywhere across the Carolinas, call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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