Do Red Light Cameras Actually Keep Us Safe?

by The Brown Firm

This topic had been very controversial over the years.

Some say yes while others are suspicious if it is more about making money than safety.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration would argue that red light cameras improve road safety and reduce crash costs.

 Chris Jeud, a reader of the Gazette, wrote a letter addressing traffic light cameras. In his experience in Australia where they use cameras to enforce traffic laws, he believes traffic camera can be helpful tools to stop people from their bad driving habits.

What Does Some of The Research Say?

study in St. Petersburg Florida determined that red light camera helps decrease side collision, but it also increased rear-end collisions. 

One of AAA’s New York Spokesperson Robert Sinclair key points to this topic initially was that side collision would decrease with red light cameras. He stated that some intersections need cameras because the risks are too high. He mentions that t-bone accidents, being hit by on the side, are the weakest point in the car and can lead to too many bad things. 

In later reports, Sinclair addresses the issue of amber light time. Amber light is the yellow light that is there to caution drivers when the light is changing from green to red.

In Georgia, a driver is allowed to enter the intersection while the light is yellow just not after the light has already turned red.

The National Motorists Association has been challenging the idea that red light cameras are for safety.

The NMA claims that safety can be improved with better engineering where yellow lights last longer. Red light cameras are a violation of due process and are not improving road conditions according to NMA. Eric Skrum from the NMA’s states the “Red-light cameras just reward cities for bad engineering.”  

According to a study, the American Traffic Solutions statistics are showing red light cameras are more efficient than long amber time in the state of Georgia.

“Georgia witnessed 17 red-light running fatalities in 2008, 26 in 2009, 24 in 2010 and 32 in 2011. Communities with red-light cameras decreased from 27 in 2008 to 17 in 2011.”

What is Georgia’s Law on Red-light Cameras?

In the state of Georgia red-light cameras are permitted, but speeding cameras are not allowed.

The red-light cameras take a picture of the light and intersections along with the license tag of the person violating the law.

A copy of this image should be mailed to the person with the ticket.

You should receive your ticket within 10 days from the day of the incident. If it is not paid a second notice will be sent certified mail before law enforcement officials can turn the unpaid ticket over to collections. Following this part of the law has been an issue in the past and leaves residents wondering if it is financially worth it. 

The penalties for red-light camera tickets $70 which is less than a ticket given by an actual police officer. Tickets are mailed to the person the car is registered in, and they are responsible for taking care of the ticket promptly.

What should you do if you have been involved in a red-light collision?

Since red light cameras have reduced side T-bone collisions but increased rear-end collisions it is still likely an accident can happen at a red light even with cameras. Accidents are typically caused by human error. People get distracted and are in a hurry all the time causing the roads to be a dangerous place.

If you are involved in a car accident you need to follow these steps:

  1. Call 911: Get a police report as official documentation of who caused the crash.
  2. Gather Evidence: Take photos of the accident, your injuries and weather conditions. Get witness information as well.
  3. Seek Medical Treatment: Don’t leave gaps in your medical care. Even if you don’t feel bad at first, pain may set in by the next day, so be safe and get checked out right away.
  4. Call an Attorney: If you need help protecting your rights to get a fair settlement contact an attorney.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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