How cities can raise public support for red light cameras

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that red light cameras are effective in deterring drivers from running red lights. Red light-running violations go down some 40% with these devices, and with that comes a reduction in red light-running crashes. More than 800 people in Missouri and across the U.S. died in red light-running crashes in 2016, so the benefits of cameras are great enough to warrant more attention.

Unfortunately, fewer communities are considering installing cameras. Many have even removed their cameras. While 533 communities in the U.S. had cameras in 2012, that number declined to 421 by 2018. There has been a loss of public support, largely caused by the bad example of cities like Chicago, which had the largest camera system in the U.S. in 2014 but shortened the yellow light duration to generate more revenue through traffic tickets.

Cities that plan on installing cameras need to do certain things to build support. For example, they should have community members on the advisory committee, publicize the early stages of implementation and let everyone know where the cameras are. Warning signs should alert drivers to the cameras. Cities should create a system for answering the public’s questions, addressing system malfunctions and ensuring due process for those who wish to contest a traffic ticket.

In the event that a driver runs a red light and injures another person, this can form the basis for a case under personal injury law. A car accident attorney may explain Missouri’s comparative negligence law and determine if the victim’s case holds up under it. If it does, the attorney may be able to handle every step of the filing and negotiating process. Third parties like crash investigators and medical experts might come in to strengthen the case.