New study reaffirms the child safety benefits of red light cameras

By Bill Holloway

A study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference last month linked higher child death rates from motor vehicle crashes to several primary factors, including low rates of child seat belt/car seat use and a lack of red light cameras.

While the full text of the study is currently unavailable, it is not the first to find a link between crashes and red light cameras. Earlier this year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released findings from its recent research showing significant safety improvements from red light cameras. The researchers analyzed 57 cities with populations over 200,000 that activated cameras between 1992 and 2014 as well as 33 cities that never had the cameras. They found that there were 21 percent fewer red-light-running crashes per capita, and 14 percent fatal crashes of all types at signalized intersections per capita, in the cities with cameras than in those without (after accounting for the effects of population density and unemployment rates). They also compared crash data in 14 cities that turned off their red light cameras between 2010 and 2014 with data from 29 cities in the same regions where red light camera programs had been continued. They found that the fatal red-light-running crash rate was 30 percent higher, and that the fatal crash rate at all signalized intersections was 16 percent higher, in cities that had turned off their cameras than in cities that had maintained their red light camera programs.

Bill Holloway is a Transportation Policy Analyst at SSTI.