Red Light cameras are significantly reducing crashes at two key intersections, according to findings from a city three-year review of data before and after the cameras were installed.
The city has used Red Light cameras since 2000 and currently has 13 cameras installed at key intersections throughout the city.
An analysis of two of the busiest intersections that have the Red Light cameras found that there has been a significant reduction in the number of accidents caused by red light runners since 2010.
At the intersection of Market and 23rd streets, there has been a 67 percent reduction in angle crashes and a 25 percent reduction in left turn collisions. At the Market Street/New Centre Drive intersection, there has been an 87 percent reduction in angle crashes and a 43 percent reduction in left turn collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, angle crashes – often called T-bone crashes – cause the most severe injuries.
At both intersections, there was a slight increase in rear-end collisions, which program critics often attribute to drivers making sudden stops at the intersections in order to avoid running the light and being fined. However, in all cases at both intersections, the vehicle that was rear-ended had been completely stopped before being hit by another car, not because the car stopped suddenly.
In addition to reducing accidents and injuries, the program does two other important things: It frees up time for police officers to spend more on more pressing calls for service and also helps reduce the amount of property damages from accidents.
Red light cameras are used in several cities across the United States. The cameras photograph cars that enter the intersection after the light has turned red. The car owner receives a bill for $50, which is not counted as a traffic violation and does not affect driving records or insurance points. By state law, the city can only keep 10% of revenues to help cover the program’s operating costs – all the rest of the proceeds go to New Hanover County schools.