According to a newly released study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), traffic deaths from red-light running crashes go up by nearly 30% after cities remove the cameras. 

Researchers compared trends in annual crash rates in 57 similar-sized cities equipped with the camera programs, with those in 33 cities in the same regions that had not yet introduced the cameras.

The rate of all types of crashes at intersections with traffic signals was 14% lower when cameras were present, and the fatal red light running crash rate was reduced by 21%. Red-light-running crashes caused 709 deaths in 2014 and an estimated 126,000 injuries.

Red light runners account for a minority of the people killed in such crashes. Most of those killed are occupants of other vehicles, passengers in the red-light running vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists.

Despite the results produced by the study, there are disagreements among government agencies, associations and the driving public that don’t see a real benefit to installing and maintaining cameras.

A message from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is supportive of the red light devices and finds it “mind-boggling that these proven safety tools are being removed despite numerous research studies validating their safety benefit. It’s disappointing that the total number of communities using this lifesaving technology has dropped from 533 in 2012 to 467 last year.”

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