Running a red light is a traffic violation and a factor in hundreds of car crashes every year in Georgia and across the U.S. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported more than 800 fatalities in 2016 that arose from red light-running crashes.
To prevent such crashes, many cities install red light cameras at their most dangerous intersections. In 2012, a total of 533 communities had done this. The benefits are clear: IIHS data shows that some 40% fewer red light-running violations occur when cameras are implemented. Large cities with cameras see 21% fewer red light-running crash deaths than other large cities.
However, the popularity of cameras has been waning. By mid-2018, only 421 communities had cameras. Incidentally, there were 17% more red light-running crash deaths between 2012 and 2018. The reason for this decline is reportedly that the public cannot trust cities to do the right thing. Some cities combine cameras with shorter yellow light duration as a way to generate revenue.
The IIHS and other safety organizations have provided checklists on how to earn public trust for cameras. Many of the tips concern community members and their ability to be on advisory committees and have a voice when the camera program is under review. Communities should publicize camera locations, too, and place warning signs at those intersections.
When red light-running crashes don’t lead to a fatality, they can still lead to a serious personal injury or disability, especially if the victim is a pedestrian or bicyclist. Both parties may share the blame in a crash, though, which is why Georgia adheres to a modified comparative negligence rule. If plaintiffs in a personal injury matter are deemed less than 50% to blame, they might recover damages. In their effort to ensure a fair settlement, victims may want to hire a lawyer.