Red Light Cameras Reduce Dangerous T-Bone Crashes

According the the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), research in Oxnard, California, found significant citywide crash reductions followed the introduction of red light cameras, and injury crashes at intersections with traffic signals were reduced by 29 percent (Retting & Kyrychenko, 2002). Front-into-side collisions — the crash type most closely associated with red light running — at these intersections declined by 32 percent overall, and front-into-side crashes involving injuries fell 68 percent. 

Stop on Red Awareness Week Image of intersection crash

The Cochrane Collaboration, an international public health organization, reviewed 10 controlled before-after studies of red light camera effectiveness (Aeron-Thomas & Hess, 2005). Based on the most rigorous studies, there was an estimated 13-29 percent reduction in all types of injury crashes and a 24 percent reduction in right-angle injury crashes.

Some studies have reported that while red light cameras reduce front-into-side collisions and overall injury crashes, they can increase rear-end crashes. However, such crashes tend to be much less severe than front-into-side crashes, so the net effect is positive.

Not all studies have reported increases in rear-end crashes. The review by the Cochrane Collaboration did not find a statistically significant change in rear-end injury crashes (Aeron-Thomas & Hess, 2005).

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