As red light camera programs in communities across the nation have declined, deaths in red-light-running crashes increased from 696 in 2012 to 811 in 2016 — representing a 17% increase according to an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) analysis.
As of July 2018, only 421 communities had red light camera programs — worse still, that number is down from 533 that had a program at any time during 2012.
To combat the growing problem of lost lives due to red-light-running, four national safety organizations have developed a red light camera checklist for local policymakers, law enforcement agencies and transportation officials.
The checklist — created by AAA, IIHS, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the National Safety Council — provides practical instructions for planning, implementing and evaluating red light camera programs, including steps to help communities build and maintain public support.
"We developed the guidelines to help communities avoid the problems that have undermined programs in the past," says IIHS President David Harkey. "We know turning off cameras results in more crashes, injuries and deaths, so it's important that camera programs succeed."
Red light running is one of the most common factors in urban crashes. In addition, data indicates that intersections are among the most dangerous places on our roadways.
As for fatalities, more than half the people killed in red-light-running crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles hit by the red light runners.
Although new camera programs continue to be added in select communities, the total number of camera programs has declined because more programs were discontinued than were initiated. Commonly cited reasons for turning off cameras include a reduction in camera citations, difficulty sustaining the financial viability of the program and community opposition.