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Motorists often oppose red light cameras despite safety benefits

Red light cameras are a contentious subject in New Jersey and around the country. Road safety advocates point to data that shows installing cameras on traffic signals prevents accidents and saves lives, but many motorists believe the devices are primarily used to generate revenue for cash-strapped municipalities. Red light cameras were in use in 533 American cities and towns in 2012, but that figure has since dropped to just 421. Deaths caused by red-light runners rose by 17% in the years following the removal of the cameras.

Road safety groups advocate for red light cameras because motorists cannot be relied upon to act responsibly at intersections. More than four in 10 of the drivers surveyed recently by the American Automobile Association admitted to driving through a red light at least once during the previous 30 days despite knowing that doing so was both unacceptable and extremely dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, accidents caused by red-light running claimed almost 900 lives in 2017.

An IIHS study suggests that installing traffic cameras can reduce red-light running by about 40% and lower fatalities by more than 20%, but plans to install the devices usually prompt howls of protest from angry drivers. Groups like the IIHS believe that this opposition could be mitigated if municipalities communicate their plans more clearly, place cameras in known accident hotspots and provide communities with regular safety updates.

When a victim gets injured in an intersection accident, experienced personal injury attorney may visit the scene to see if red light cameras were present. If they were, legal counsel may be able to obtain images that could be used to establish negligence in court. If there were no red light cameras, the lawyer might check nearby buildings for security cameras that could have captured the events as they unfolded.

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