Though many drivers believe that red light cameras are the bane of urban driving, a recent study shows that cameras at stop lights are effective tools that reduce car accidents and save lives. According to researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, red light cameras saved 159 lives during the five year time period of 2004 to 2008. Researchers believe that if red light cameras had been installed in all large cities in the United States during the same time period, around 815 lives could have been saved.
The researchers who conducted the study reviewed statistics from 99 cities in the United States with populations over 200,000. The researchers compared the statistics from cities with red light cameras to cities that did not. Researchers also measured the rate of change in cities that introduced red lights cameras and compared two different time periods, 1992 to 1996 and 2004 to 2008. Fourteen cities had red light cameras during the time period of 2004 to 2008 and deadly car accidents caused by drivers who ran a red light decreased by 35 percent in those cities. In comparison, cities that did not have red light cameras saw a decline for similar accidents but only by 14 percent.
Researchers extrapolated further conclusions from the comparison above. They concluded that cities with cameras from 2004 to 2008 saw a 24 percent lower rate of fatal red light car accidents than without cameras. Based on the percentage, researchers estimated those cities experienced 74 fewer fatal red light car accidents and based on the estimated number of fewer accidents, cities with cameras prevented 83 Battle Creek car accident deaths.