Experience Brings Results

Red-light cameras in decline despite clear benefits

Drivers in Oregon should understand just how dangerous running a red light can be. This practice is behind hundreds of fatal crashes every year. More than 800 people died from red-light running collisions in 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In a AAA Foundation survey, 92.9% of respondents agreed that red-light running is unacceptable behavior, yet 42.7% admitted to doing it at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.

There is one good way to lower the number of red-light running violations and crashes, and that's to install cameras at unsafe intersections. The IIHS has long attested to the benefits of cameras with data showing that they reduce violations by some 40%. Comparing large cities with red-light cameras to those without them, the IIHS found that the former saw 21% fewer fatalities from red-light running crashes.

However, fewer communities are getting red-light cameras. Their number fell from 533 in 2012 to 421 in mid-2018. During that same period, red-light running crash deaths rose 17%, though other factors are involved, such as the increased number of cars on the road.

The major reason for this decline is distrust. The public sees that cameras can be treated as merely a way to generate revenue for the city. Several safety organizations provide checklists for ensuring a successful camera program.

When car accidents arise because drivers violate traffic laws, it becomes easy to determine who was at fault. In Oregon, crash victims can recover damages when their own degree of fault is 50% or less. Of course, any degree of fault will lower the amount they recover, so victims may want legal counsel by their side to ensure a reasonable settlement covering medical bills, lost wages and more. If one cannot be achieved, the lawyer may assist with litigation.

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