In 2013, the legislature proposed adding red light cameras to Michigan. My Fox Detroit reports that two bills were introduced. Adding cameras can affect motorists in Detroit and surrounding areas because red light cameras often result in drivers slamming on their brakes in order to avoid being ticketed as they approach an intersection that has one of these cameras.
While the goal of these cameras is laudable and there have been reductions in certain types of collisions, the fact that so many drivers end up hitting the brakes at the last minute has serious consequences in terms of increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. An accident lawyer knows that rear-end crashes are one of the most common collision types in the United States. These accidents can cause serious injuries including broken bones, whiplash, back and neck injuries and even death. It is important to consider whether the tradeoff is worth it when red light cameras are installed.
Risks of Rear-end Collisions With Red Light Cameras
According to the Highway Safety Research Center, there are approximately 900 fatalities and 200,000 injuries annually as a result of motorists who go through red lights. Many of the fatalities are either pedestrians struck while crossing the road or are people inside of motor vehicles who are involved in a side impact or T-bone crash.
Safety 1st has reported that there has been a 20 percent increase in side impact crash fatalities over the course of the last 20 years. Side impact crashes account for one in four collisions in this country, and are the cause of one in three fatalities among children who die in car crashes.
Reducing the risk of side impact crashes is important to try to bring these death numbers down. Red light cameras have been effective in these efforts. Red light violations have dropped by as many as 70 percent at intersections with cameras and the installation of cameras has resulted in around a 25 percent reduction in T-bone accidents according to the Highway Safety Research Center. The Washington Post has similar data on crash reduction, reporting a 26 percent reduction in traffic fatalities over a five year period of time after red light cameras were installed at intersections.
However, while side impact crashes may not be occurring as often, rear-end crashes are occurring more frequently as drivers slam on their brakes and the motorists behind them do not have time to stop. There has been around a 15 percent increase in rear-end crashes at intersections with red light cameras according to the Highway Safety Research Center. The National Motorists Association also summarizes news stories from around the nation indicating an increase in crashes at intersections where motorist fear getting ticketed for running a light.
Drivers need to be aware of the fact that these red light cameras increase the chances of a sudden stop. Increasing the distance between you vehicle and the car in front of you could help you to avoid the potential for a rear-end crash. If more drivers allowed for a longer following distance, red light cameras would be able to reduce the risk of side impact crashes without the danger of a rear impact collision rising simultaneously.
A Detroit accident lawyer can help victims in the city and surrounding suburbs including Warren and Sterling Heights. Contact Fraser & Souweidane P.C. at (866) 465-9095 or visit https://www.fsattorneys.com to schedule a free consultation.