Cameras that catch drivers who blow through red lights are there to improve safety, by discouraging light running. But such cameras actually increase the likelihood of car crashes. Because more drivers jam on the breaks in an attempt to make a late stop at red-light camera intersections. That’s the finding of a study done by researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health.
They decided to look into the issue because Florida officials are considering installing many more such cameras around the state. The researchers contend that other studies associating cameras with fewer crashes and injuries are flawed—those studies were linked with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an industry group. But insurers may profit from red light cameras, because revenues go up with increased citations and accidents.
The new report notes that North Carolina, Virginia and Ontario all had increased crash rates and injuries associated with red light cameras. In Florida, injuries related to red light running are down anyway. So drivers needing to make a quick decision at a yellow light may be better off not seeing red.