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Red-light cameras increase crashes, researchers find
Date:3/11/2008

Tampa, FL (March 11, 2008) -- Rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and are a ticket to higher auto insurance premiums, researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health conclude. The effective remedy to red-light running uses engineering solutions to improve intersection safety, which is particularly important to Floridas elderly drivers, the researchers recommend.

The report was published this month in the Florida Public Health Review, the online journal of the college and the Florida Public Health Association.

The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras dont work, said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health. Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections. If used in Florida, cameras could potentially create even worse outcomes due to the states high percent of elderly who are more likely to be injured or killed when a crash occurs.

Red-light cameras photograph violators who are then sent tickets in the mail. Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously agreed earlier this month to install the cameras at several major intersections in the county. The devices could be adopted by more cities and counties if Florida legislators pave the way by changing a state law this spring.

The USF report highlights trends in red-light running in Florida, summarizes major studies, and analyzes the automobile insurance industrys financial interest in cameras. Among the findings:

  • Traffic fatalities caused by red-light running are not increasing in Florida and account for less than 4 percent of the states yearly traffic deaths. In contrast, more than 22 percent of the states traffic fatalities occur at intersections for reasons other than red-light running.

  • The injury rate from red-light ru
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida Health
Source:Eurekalert

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