For the first time in Texas history, the Texas Transportation Institute has conducted a comprehensive and statewide study regarding the effectiveness of red light cameras on reducing traffic accidents.
The study, which analyzed over 15,000 crashes at 275 intersections over multiple years, found that the number of car wrecks at red light camera intersections has fallen by an average of 25 percent since installation.
In Houston, where votes attempted to turn off the red light cameras in November, the rate of car accidents dropped by 25 percent. In Dallas, crashes rates dropped by 38 percent at red light camera intersections.
Many believe that the study verifies that the cameras do indeed stop drivers from running red lights and causing crashes – and Houston and Dallas officials have used the information to confirm that their choice to add cameras was good for public safety. While red light cameras can sometimes increase the number of minor fender-benders, they have been found to reduce the number of more serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
However, some opponents of the red light cameras believe that cities use the devices simply to create revenue from passively ticketing drivers (in the past four years, Houston’s red light cameras have brought in $44 million). They also claim that the reduction crash rates is not due to the cameras, but rather to better safety features in cars (such as more effective brakes), the general trend of fewer car accidents across the country, and the effects of the recession on commuter numbers.
Have you been injured at an intersection in the Houston or Dallas areas in which another vehicle ran a red light? Speak with a Texas car accident attorney today about your case.