red light

Do Red Light Cameras Reduce Auto Accidents?

Cities around the country – including Chicago – use red light cameras to enforce laws at high-traffic intersections. Chicago currently uses almost 400 red light cameras to monitor 190 of the city’s most dangerous intersections, with the program generating more than $300 million since its inception in 2003.

Red light cameras are installed on an intersection’s traffic lights and will take a photo of any vehicle that passes under the sensor after the light has turned red. The photo records the rear view of the vehicle, along with the vehicle’s license plate, which are used as proof of the red light violation.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2011, red light cameras saved 159 lives between 2004 and 2008 in 14 of the largest U.S. cities. Moreover, the study estimated that if red light cameras had been in use during that period in all large cities, a total of 815 deaths would have been prevented. Researchers also concluded that the rate of fatal red light running crashes in cities with cameras in place during that period was 24 percent lower than it would have been without cameras, which amounted to approximately 83 lives saved.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune supports claims that red light cameras have reduced accidents in Chicago, as well. As the article reports, new data provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation shows that Chicago’s red light cameras have successfully reduced accidents at 18 intersections and, as a result, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city has decided to remove the 36 cameras at those locations.

According to the Chicago Tribune article, the intersections that were deemed safe enough to have the cameras removed, had zero right-angle or “T-bone” crashes in 2012, or just one such accident along with a total crash rate of less than 1 percent.

Additionally, according to the Sun Times, Western Springs police report that the red-light cameras at two intersections have resulted in a decrease in the number of car accidents.

Because red light cameras are a significant money-maker for municipalities, some question whether they are actually being used to save lives or to generate revenue.

Auto accidents are among the most common types of personal injury accidents, and a large percentage of accidents occur in intersections. The Chicago auto accident attorneys at Cogan & Power, P.C. are dedicated to keeping Chicago motorists safe and helping the victims of auto accidents obtain the financial recovery that they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact the experienced auto accident law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to receive a free case evaluation. We will promptly launch an independent investigation of the accident to collect and review any available evidence so that we can assess all potential legal claims. After we have conducted a comprehensive legal analysis, we will vigorously advocate on your behalf to get you the compensation you need and deserve.