Do Red-Light Safety Cameras cause an increase in rear-end collisions?
- Rear-end collisions are caused by speeding, distracted driving and following too closely, not by Red-Light Safety Cameras. Independent research studies and community testimonials show that most communities see no change in the number of rear-end collisions, while many communities have even witnessed a decrease.
- Some studies have shown that the incidence of rear-end collisions can increase following installation of Red-Light Safety Cameras. However, there are many debates surrounding these studies and the validity of their findings.
- Despite such findings, researchers have determined that even when such increases occur, they are consistently offset by larger, more significant decreases in the most deadly type of intersection collision: right-angle crashes. Right-angle crashes are the most prevalent type of fatal intersection crash. FARS data for 2002 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) revealed that right-angle crashes accounted for 59 percent of fatal crashes at signalized intersections, while rear-end collisions accounted for only 6 percent of fatal crashes.
- A study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration examined crash rates at intersections with Red-Light Safety Cameras in seven communities. The researchers found that while right-angle crashes at the photo enforced intersections dropped by 25 percent, the frequency of rear-end collisions increased by 15 percent. Despite this increase, however, the Red-Light Safety Cameras yielded a reduction in crash-related costs of more than $18.5 million (excluding property-damage only crashes) as a result of the large decrease in dangerous and costly right-angle crashes.