Study Reaffirms Red Light Cameras Should be in State Safety Toolboxes

Feb 01, 2011, 10:30 ET from Governors Highway Safety Association

Statement for Attribution to Barbara Harsha, Executive Director, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) demonstrating that red light cameras save lives and reduce traffic crashes is welcome news. According to IIHS, had red light cameras been in place during the period they studied in all 99 U.S. cities with populations more than 200,000, a total of 815 deaths could be saved. While other studies have demonstrated the safety benefits of red light cameras, this is the first to look at fatal intersection crashes across many cities with red light cameras.


GHSA has long supported red light cameras as a tool to reduce intersection crashes and injuries. Utilization of this tool will help states meet the aggressive national highway safety goal of moving toward zero deaths by reducing fatalities by a 1,000 a year each year during the next twenty years. We view technology as absolutely critical if this goal is to be met or exceeded.

According to IIHS, in 2009, 676 people were killed and 113,000 were injured in intersection crashes. Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were people other than the lawbreaking driver. Victims included passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. There simply are not enough resources to put a police officer at every intersection, and enforcement at intersections is often dangerous. Cameras deployed in areas with a history of intersection crashes are a proven safety tool.

We have known for years that when the public sees a law being enforced, they will respect it and drive more safely. That has been true with drunk driving and seat belt laws, and it is also true with red light cameras. This new IIHS study leaves no doubt that red light cameras are an effective enforcement tool and a key to intersection safety.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA ®) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit

SOURCE Governors Highway Safety Association