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Red Light Cameras: Friend Or Foe?

Are red light cameras keeping our roads safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians?

Red light cameras were instituted with the premise being that everyone would benefit from a safety perspective. It follows, logically, that car crashes should be reduced in areas where cameras are present. However, a recent study released by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety suggests otherwise.

The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy a firm with a long track record of helping car crash victims, tells you what you need to know below.


When political leaders rolled out the idea of installing red light cameras throughout New York they crafted a message cloaked in safety. Roads would be safer. Driving would be safer. Pedestrians would be safer. The theory was that red light cameras would deter people from intentionally going through a red light. This, in turn, would reduce the number of collisions at intersections with traffic lights. The nexus between the red light cameras and collision reduction seems perfectly logical. Perhaps the logic is flawed, according to a study by an Insurance group.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released a study that claims traffic death from red light running crashes went up one-third in cities with cameras. The study also concluded that red light running crashes increased by 30%. The study also claims to have compared their statistics with a large number of municipalities that no longer use red light cameras. However, they fail to provide whether there have been an increase or decrease in the number of red light related crashes in those areas. Other studies have reached conclusions that point to the complete opposite result, claiming that the red light cameras save lives.

With the limited amount of information available it is very difficult to determine the reliability of any study. As trial attorneys with a fair amount of experience dealing with studies of this nature we would caution you that blindly accepting these results are a mistake. Typically, studies like these are funded by interest groups that have a very clear objective in mind when the studies are commissioned. Often the results of the study are clouded by the desires of the group paying for the research. Our advice is to read the study, question the motivations of those involved with the study and then form your own conclusions.

There is no debate that part of the motivation for red light cameras is to generate revenue. Still, if the presence of red light cameras makes some drivers hesitate about running through a red light then that should lead to a reduction in serious accidents. It is our opinion that red light cameras can and do save lives. Yes it is frustrating to get a ticket and have to pay a fine for running a red light but that is a small price to pay if the existence of these cameras is leading to less serious collisions.

What do we know about collisions? The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have been representing victims of car crashes for decades. The lawyers at this well regarded firm have recovered nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for their clients.

You may call them for a free consultation at any time by dialing 212-736-5300.