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Study Says Red Light Cameras Reduce Crashes, Save Lives

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– When defending the placement of red-light cameras, politicians are quick to say they are being installed to make the roads safer.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a five-year study backs up their claims.

It seems like they’re on every corner.

Reporter: “Have you gotten a ticket?”
Motorist Alyson Peppersack: “Yes.”

And at $60 a flash, governments say people should learn to stop, rather than go.

A five-year study seems to confirm that in areas with cameras, fatal red light crashes are down by 24 percent.

“That’s good then, I guess,” Andrea Barone said. “They’re helpful.”

The study of 14 cities over five years shows 159 lives were saved.

Peppersack: “Who says that?”
Reporter: “Insurance Highway Institute’s study. You don’t buy it?”
Peppersack: “No.”
Reporter: “How come?”
Peppersack: “I just don’t.”

“That figure seems to me like it would be accurate, and that people would think before they went through a red light because they would be afraid of getting a ticket,” Wendy Norris said. “So I’m fine with it.”

If those statistics are to be believed, then many people are changing their behavior to avoid getting a ticket. But many people believe that those cameras are just a way for the government to generate more money.

The head of the National Motorists Association says just lengthening the duration of the yellow can reduce red-light running by 50 percent or more.

But are these devices doing both– saving lives and generating money?

“There are others who think they are strictly a money-generating device,” Barone said. “Yeah, definitely! That’s what I think.”

The Insurance Highway Institute says that had red light cameras been installed in all U.S. cities with populations above 200,000, 815 deaths would have been prevented.

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