Red-light cameras have become an effective way for cities to enforce traffic laws and generate money for the city by ticketing drivers who run red lights. While many cities and safety groups in Louisiana have touted the benefits of installing red-light cameras, many have questioned if red-light cameras increase safety.
Now, a new study can answer that question. Baton Rouge installed red-light traffic cameras five years ago and the city’s Department of Public Works recently evaluated impact the traffic cameras have had on car accidents and red-light traffic violations in Baton Rouge.
The study found that after the red-light cameras were installed, the city saw a decline in car accidents and red-light traffic violations at intersections where the traffic cameras were placed. The study reviewed the number of car accidents and traffic violations at these intersections that occurred before and then after the red-light cameras were installed.
It appears that red-light cameras do decrease the number of serious car accidents in Louisiana, according to the study. The study reported that the red-light cameras led to a signficant decrease in right-angle car crashes that commonly happen at intersections when someone runs a red-light and runs into another car turning in the intersection. Right-angle accidents can be very dangerous because drivers and other passengers in the car may be directly hit by another car depending on what side of the vehicle is hit.
The study noted that right-angle car accidents decreased by 40 percent after traffic cameras were installed. In addition, total injuries occurring from accidents in these intersections decreased by 15 percent. While these findings show the effectiveness and safety benefits of installing red-light cameras, the study did find that rear-end collisions increased by four percent after cameras were installed.
Rear-end collisions usually increase after red-light cameras are installed due to many drivers becoming more cautious and not wanting to run a red light. This leads to more drivers slamming on their brakes or abruptly stopping to make sure they don’t get a ticket for running a red light. While this finding does show a downside to red-light cameras, overall, safety does improve for drivers because right-angle crashes, which are much more dangerous and deadly, significantly decrease after red-light cameras are installed.