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Improving roadway safety with red light cameras

Over 800 people are killed every year in Kentucky and across the country in car accidents caused by drivers who run through red lights, and thousands more people are seriously injured. Despite it being common knowledge that running red lights is illegal, negligent drivers continue to put others at risk on a daily basis. A large percentage of those severely injured or killed in these crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists or occupants of other vehicles. Red light cameras are one method adopted by municipalities across the country in an effort to crack down on violations while also obtaining traffic ticket revenue.

The cameras are posted on traffic light poles and capture the images of cars that go through red lights, taking photos of their license plates. Red light violators will generally receive traffic tickets in the mail. The systems have come in for criticism, however. Some say that cities that install the cameras do not care about cutting down on motor vehicle accidents or improving safety, just increasing revenue. As an example, they point to Chicago where a widespread camera system linked to costly fines was combined with the lowest allowable yellow light timing under law. The introduction of the cameras was accompanied by an increased number of rear-end car crashes from drivers attempting to speed through the yellow lights and avoid a ticket.

However, research points to the effectiveness of the cameras in enhancing road safety when they are used correctly. Cities with red light cameras have 21% fewer fatalities in car crashes linked to red light running, and overall violations drop by 40%.

Dangerous and negligent drivers imperil others on the road every day, including when they run red lights. People who have been injured in a car crash caused by someone else's red light violation may work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.

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