Fact Sheets

For more information on Road Safety Cameras, download the following fact sheets

Red-Light Dangers

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Yellow Light Timing

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Economic Benefit

 

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Constitutionality of Road Safety Cameras

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Dangers of Speeding

 

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Road Safety Cameras Around the World

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Right-On-Red

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Rear-End Collisions

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Red-Light Running Dangers in the United States

On average, two people died each day in red-light running crashes in the United States in 2011.

From 2007-2011 an average of…

  • 751 people died each year in red-light running crashes.
  • 63 people died each month in red-light running crashes.
  • $378 million was lost in costs due to red-light running fatalities each month.

Total red-light running crash fatalities decreased 22% from 2007 to 2011, as the number of communities with red-light safety cameras increased 135%.

  • 201 fewer people died in red-light running crashes in 2011 than in 2007, saving $1.2 billion in costs.
  • Year-to-year changes in red-light running fatalities reveal an average annual decrease of 5.6% from 2007 to 2011.
  • In 2011, about half of the red-light running deaths were people other than the red-light runner.
  • In 2011, red-light running crashes injured 118,000 people. 

The Value of Red-Light Safety Cameras: Cameras Save Lives

Within a few months after red-light cameras stopped operating in Virginia Beach, red-light running rates tripled at intersections where cameras were shut down. Within a year, the rate was four times higher, eliminating all traffic safety risk reductions. Two years later, the Virginia Legislature reinstated the law permitting the use of red-light cameras.

A 2012 study by the Texas Transportation Institute found right-angle red-light running crashes decreased by 24% at intersections with red-light safety cameras.

A 2011 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found red-light safety cameras lowered red-light running fatalities by 24% and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17% in a study of 14 large U.S. cities.

Red-Light Safety Cameras Have Strong Public Support

A 2011 survey of 14 large cities with long-standing red-light camera programs found that two-thirds of drivers support their use.

Red-Light Running Fines Fund Community Needs

In Florida, more than $4.4 million from red-light running fines has gone to spinal cord injury research to cure paralysis.

Cameras Save Money for Taxpayers, Communities

A single fatal crash costs society $6.43 million in 2013 dollars, and includes costs to victims, families, government, insurers and taxpayers.

Download the Red-Light Running Dangers Cutsheet here.

Yellow-Light Timing

Why Amber Time Matters…

  • The purpose of the yellow interval is to warn approaching traffic of the imminent right-of-way change.
  • If the amber light is too long, drivers will disregard it and consider it part of the green light cycle.
  • Excessively long signal lights can encourage red-light running because drivers do not want to have to wait several minutes for the next green interval.
  • Drivers adapt to longer yellow time.
  • Longer yellow light times do not result in lasting change in driver behavior. “Prior research examining longer term effects of increased yellow timing found that reductions in red-light violations were sustained at least 6 months to 1 year…but that some drivers might adapt to increases in yellow duration and continue to run red lights.”

Source: Retting, R. et al. “Reducing Red-Light Running through Longer Yellow Signal Timing and Red-Light Camera Enforcement: Results of a Field Investigation.”

Myth V. Fact

Myth– Cities shorten the timing of yellow lights to increase revenue from fines.

Fact: Yellow light time is set to optimize safety and traffic flow. Federal guidelines recommend yellow lights last from 3 to 6 seconds. Local authorities set the duration based on many factors including: traffic volume, speed, roadway grade and intersection design.

Myth– To stop red-light running, just make yellow lights longer.

Fact: Longer yellow lights do not prevent red-light running as effectively as red-light safety cameras. This is proven in a Philadelphia study where researchers found one added second of amber time decreased red-light running violations by 36%, but the installation of red-light safety cameras reduced violations an additional 96%. 

Myth– people do not run red lights on purpose. The yellow is just too short.

Fact: More than 1 in 3 drivers (37%) admit to running a traffic light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely in the past 30 days.

Fact: “The yellow interval does not determine the stopping time of those who choose to stop, because their deceleration and slower average speed as they stop means they have longer than yellow interval to achieve their stop.

Myth– Longer yellow light times will make intersections safer.

Fact: Raising the yellow light time might reduce violations but it doesn’t change driver behavior. In fact, it may cause secondary problems when the driver learns an unsafe behavior that could cause a crash at other signal locations where yellow intervals may not have been extended arbitrarily.

Fact: Red-light safety cameras change dangerous driver behavior and help protect everyone. Traffic studies found red-light running violations fell by 40% to 96% after the introduction of red-light cameras, and the reductions occurred not only at camera-equipped sites but also at signalized intersections without cameras, indicating community-wide changes in driver behavior.

Statistics and Studies

Georgia law added 1 second to yellow light times at intersections with red-light cameras in 2009. That year, red-light running fatalities in the state increased 53% from 2008. Red-light running fatalities in 2010 and 2011 were 41% and 88% higher respectively than in 2008.
Note: Georgia witnessed 17 red-light running fatalities in 2008, 26 in 2009, 24 in 2010 and 32 in 2011. Communities with red-light cameras decreased from 27 in 2008 to 17 in 2011.

In Texas, at 275 intersections with red-light running cameras and yellow light times that met established guidelines, red-light running crashes decreased 23% one year after red-light cameras were installed, 27% the second year and 21% the third year.

Download the Yellow-Light Timing Cutsheet here.

 Economic Benefits of Red-Light and Speed Safety Cameras

Myth V. Fact

Myth – If red-light cameras reduce intersection crashes, the cost for these crashes should also decrease.

Fact: The need to reduce traffic crashes is always present, but from a cost perspective the need for more effective safety measures is especially timely because costs per crash are rising even though the number of crashes is declining. From 2005 to 2012, total fatalities have decreased 21.6% yet the cost per fatal crash has risen 100%.

Fact: The cost of a traffic crash on the community is on the rise. When adjusted for inflation, a traffic fatality will cost society $6.42 million in 2013, a 100 percent increase from $3.2 million in 2005.

Fact: Injury crash costs are on the same upward trajectory. The community’s cost of an injury crash is up from $68,170 in 2005 to $134,843 in 2013, a 97.8% increase from 2005.

Private insurance companies pay 50% of the societal costs associated with every traffic crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 33,780 estimated traffic fatalities in 2012 cost society $216 billion at $6.4 million per fatality and cost insurance companies $108 billion. If red-light and speed safety cameras reduced total fatalities by an additional 25%, the savings to the insurance industry as a whole would amount to:

  • A $27 billion reduction in costs for 8,445 fewer traffic fatalities in 2012.
  • An $8.1 billion reduction in costs for 2,534 fewer speeding fatalities in 2012.
  • A $559 million savings in expenses for 178 lives saved from the 714 red-light running fatalities in 2011.
  • A $1.9 billion reduction in expenses from 29,500 fewer red-light running crash-related injuries at $133,555 per injury cost to society.

Studies

  • According to FHWA, the cost of a single motor vehicle fatality is $6 million in 2009 dollars.
  • According to NHTSA, private insurers pay approximately 50% of all vehicle crash costs.
  • Red-light safety cameras saved 159 lives and reduced red-light running fatalities by 24 percent in 14 of the largest populated U.S. cities.

Crash Facts

Fatal traffic crashes increased 4.4% from 32,367 in 2011 to 33,780 in 2012, the first increase in total fatalities since 2005, according to the latest estimates from NHTSA.

  • In 2012, 93 people died each day in a traffic crash.
  • An estimated 10,134 people were killed in speed-related crashes in 2012, up from 9,944 in 2011, according to the latest NHTSA estimates.
  • Speed-related traffic crashes killed an estimated 28 people each day in 2012.
  • An estimated 845 people died each month in 2012 in speed-related traffic crashes.
  • On average, 27 people died in speed-related crashes each day in 2011. That’s 829 people each month and 9,944 people for the year, according to the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.
  • NHTSA estimates that the economic cost of speed-related collisions is $40.4 billion each year– $76,865 per minute or $1,281 per second.

 Download the Economic Benefit cutsheet here.

 Constitutionality of Red-Light & Speed Safety Cameras

Myth V. Fact

Myth– Cameras wrongly ticket the vehicle owner, not the driver.

Fact: The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in 2009 that issuing a citation to vehicle owners (or lessees) instead of the driver is constitutionally permissible.

Myth– Cameras invade drivers’ privacy and violate the Fourth Amendment.

Fact: Driving is not a private activity. It is voluntarily done in plain sight, on public roads by licensed individuals who agree to abide by traffic laws.

Fact: The U.S. Supreme Court describes driving as a regulated activity on public roads where there is no personal expectation of privacy.

Fact: In Katz v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court expressed the limitations to one’s legal right to privacy when it wrote: “What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.

Myth– Cameras presume drivers are guilty.

Fact: There is no presumption of guilt in a ticket issued from camera-based evidence. A citation is a summons. Every person who receives a citation for running a red light has the opportunity to contest their ticket, just as they can with a traditional traffic ticket.

Fact: In 2010, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that speed cameras in Akron, Ohio, did not violate due process, stating. “As the district court found, the ordinance provides for notice of the citation, an opportunity for a hearing, provision for a record of the hearing decision, and the right to appeal an adverse decision. We agree with the district court that the ordinance and its implementation, as detailed in the stipulations, satisfy due process.”

Myth– Cameras prevent the violator from confronting the accuser.

Fact: Violators do have an accuser to confront. It is the police officer who approves the citation for running a red light based on his/her review of the photographic evidence.

Myth– The use of cameras delays immediate notice of the offense.

Fact: Drivers who commit a red-light violation do not have to be immediately notified of the offense, but they do have to be notified within the statute of limitations, which differ by jurisdiction.

 Speeding Dangers

Speeding-related crashes killed an estimated 10,134 people in 2012 in the United States, an average of 28 people a day.

In 2011, 9,944 people died in speeding crashes in the U.S., a 24% decrease from 2007.

From 2007-2011 an average of…

  • 11,205 people died each year in speed-related crashes.
  • 934 people were killed each month in speeding crashes.
  • $5.6 billion was lost each month to speeding-fatality related costs.
  • In 2011, 25% of speed-related fatalities occurred on streets with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less.
  • 87% of speed-related fatalities occurred on roads that were not interstate highways in 2011.

Myth V. Fact

Myth– Higher speeds are safer for traffic.

Fact: Speeding-related fatalities remained level for the first 10 years since the national maximum speed limit repeal, but should have decreased if higher speeds are safer.

Myth– Speeding is not a problem.

Fact: Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. In 2011, speeding was a contributing factor in 30.7% of all fatal crashes, and 9,944 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.

Myth– Speed cameras can generate false readings.

Fact: Most speed-measuring devices are equally accurate measuring approaching or receding traffic speeds and are accurate to within 1 mph when used properly.

Myth– Speed safety cameras violate citizen’s due process rights under the Fifth and 14th Amendments by presuming the driver is guilty, preventing the driver from confronting his/her accuser and delaying immediate notice of the offense.

Fact: There is no presumption of guilt in a ticket issued from camera-based evidence. A citation is a summons. Every person who receives a citation for speeding has the opportunity to contest their ticket, just as they can with a traditional traffic ticket. They may confront the police officer who approves the citation based on photographic evidence and notices the accused within the statute of limitations.

Fact: Citations are mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner, who has the option to sign a legal affidavit stating he/she was not driving the vehicle at the time of the violation.

Fact: In 2010, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that speed cameras in Akron, Ohio, did not violate due process, stating. “As the district court found, the ordinance provides for notice of the citation, an opportunity for a hearing, provision for a record of the hearing decision, and the right to appeal an adverse decision. We agree with the district court that the ordinance and its implementation, as detailed in the stipulations, satisfy due process.”

Research Shows Speed Cameras Improve Safety

  • Outside the United States, countries with longer histories of using speed safety cameras as part of their enforcement programs have reported reductions in speed-related fatalities of 15% to 20%.
  • A speed camera program reduced injury crashes by 28% to 48% in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fixed speed cameras reduce injury crashes by 20% to 25%, and mobile speed cameras reduced injury collisions by 21% to 51%, and that “automated enforcement systems can result in measurable safety improvements at high crash locations.”

 Download the Speeding Dangers Cutsheet here.

 Road Safety Cameras Around the World

Red-Light Safety Cameras

  • Australia: Thirty red-light cameras rotating through 60 signalized intersections in Western Australia from 2005 through 2009 are estimated to have reduced casualty crashes by 25% to 30%.
  • Austria: With cameras in place, the number of people crossing junctions at a red light has decreased significantly. So far this year, 17,000 people have been caught going through red lights by the cameras, that is 4,500 less than the same period in 2012.
  • Canada:
    • The city of Saskatoon estimates intersections with red-light cameras boast a 15% lower injury and fatality rate and a 22% drop in the most severe type of collisions compared with the city’s other busy intersections.
    • In Calgary, from 2000 to 2011, collisions at intersections with red-light safety cameras have decreased 17% and injury collisions have fallen nearly 50%.
  • England: An evaluation of red-light safety cameras in a number of counties in England showed an accident reduction of 18% over 254 sites.
  • Israel: A poll conducted by the Or Yarok organization and the Institute for Geocartographic Research found that three-quarters of Israelis favor the new speed and red-light cameras. Ultimately some 100 red-light and 200 speed safety cameras are expected to be deployed across the country.
  • Scotland: A study of red-light safety camera deployments in Glasgow showed a 25% drop in accidents at signalized junctions, including a 67% drop in fatal accidents, a 40% drop in serious accidents, a 28% drop in slight accidents and a 22% drop in non-injury accidents.

Red-Light and Speed Safety Cameras Combined

  • Belgium: A study of 253 intersections in Flanders, Belgium, with one or more fixed combined red-light and speed safety cameras, revealed an overall decrease of 14% to 18% of crashes with fatal and serious injuries, and a 24% decrease of severe side crashes.
  • Australia: In an evaluation of 77 signalized intersections across Victoria:
    • Crashes involving vehicles in the lane with a camera decreased an estimated 47%.
    • Crashes involving vehicles in all lanes decreased an estimated 26%; while right-angle and right-turn against crashes diminished an estimated 44%.
    • Across all 77 intersections, cameras helped avert an estimated 17 serious or fatal crashes per year ad 39 minor injury crashes for a crash cost savings to the community of more than $8 million.

Speed Safety Cameras

  • Australia: Queensland’s mobile speed camera program reduced fatal and serious injury crashes by 40.4%, decreased crashes requiring medical treatment by 50.7% and reduced total crashes by 31.2%.
  • Israel: With speed cameras installed along a treacherous stretch of road on the Krayot Bypass, traffic accidents decreased by 26%.
  • United Kingdom: A national evaluation of 502 fixed camera sites and 1,448 mobile camera sites in 2005 found fatal and serious injury crashes fell by 42.1%.

WORLDWIDE:
 An analysis of 28 studies measuring the effect of speed cameras found:

  • Injury crash reductions ranged between 8% to 50%.
  • Serious injury or fatal crashes diminished from 11% to 44%.
  • Studies of longer duration showed that these positive trends were either maintained or improved with time.

 Download the Road Safety Cameras Around the World Cutsheet here.