City officials in Victoria, Texas are considering placing cameras at Red Light intersections. This could be a significant step forward in traffic safety. According to the Texas House Research Organization wrecks at red light are costly:
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) crash database shows injuries and fatalities stemming from red-light crashes grew from 10,000 annually in 1975 to 24,000 per year in 2001, and a recent Federal Highway Administration study identified Texas as one of the worst states for red-light running. The financial costs of these accidents in Texas have been estimated at between $1.4 billion and $3 billion annually in medical, insurance, and related expenses.
According to the same study, cameras help prevent accidents and save lives:
The federal Transportation Research Board found in its “Impact of Red Light Camera Enforcement on Crash Experience” survey conducted in 2003 that a majority of red-light camera jurisdictions reported decreases in accidents and violations as a result of the crashes, including:
•Charlotte, NC, where all crash types dropped by 19 percent and crash severity fell by 16 percent during a three-year period;
•Sacramento, CA, where red-light crashes decreased 39 percent during a one-year period; and
•Baltimore County, MD, where red-light crashes fell 30 percent during a one-year period.
Traffic light cameras would have the added benefit of eliminating the guess work in a red light swearing match. It is very common for two people at a lighted intersection to swear that they had a green light. A picture would clearly show which party is correct. Cameras would help insure that the innocent party is properly compensated for their injuries and damages.