Debates Continue – Are Red-Light Cameras Reducing Risks for Intersection Car Accidents in North Carolina?

“At every intersection where we’ve installed the cameras, we’ve seen significant decreases in T-bone crashes, the very serious type of crashes you can have when a driver runs a red light”, said Mike Kennon, Raleigh’s traffic engineer.

What the engineer failed to note was that the number of rear-end car accidents in Asheville and elsewhere have experienced an increase because motorists are slamming on their brakes so they’re not caught by red-light cameras.
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Our North Carolina car accident attorneys understand that these cameras have been the topic of a heated debate for quite some time now. Those who support the cameras say that they’re doing exactly what they’re intended to do and are reducing the number of serious intersection accidents. Opposing parties claim that these cameras are causing more rear-end accident and they’re only here to generate revenue for the city.

Sen. Don East, a Republican from Pilot Mountain and retired Winston-Salem traffic officer, opposes these cameras and says that they’re not fair because drivers can’t really challenge the $50 tickets that come in the mail.

“You ought to be able to say, ‘Officer, are you right sure that light was red?” says East.

These cameras snap pictures of cars that enter the intersection once the light has turned red. The owner of the vehicle will receive a ticket and the photographic evidence in the mail. This violation is a civil infraction and has no effect on driving records or insurance rates.

Those who oppose the cameras say that they cause increased risks for rear-end collisions because drivers slam on the brakes to avoid a ticket. A North Carolina A&T State University study concludes that these cameras are indeed causing an increased number of intersection car accidents.

“My main concern, frankly, is just the safety of travelers,” said Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican.

Raleigh and Cary officials report that the cameras have made drivers more careful to avoid running red lights at intersections.

Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, recently said during a Senate debate that Raleigh police have recorded nearly 50 accidents during the four years before cameras were installed at Dawson and South streets. Since the cameras were installed, they’ve only recorded 16 accidents. At the intersection of Dawson and Morgan streets, the data from the same period fell from 42 accidents before the cameras to one crash afterward.

Fourteen cities were part of a recent study, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, concluded that cameras have reduced the rate of fatal red light running crashes by nearly 25 percent. The study also concludes that more than 60 percent of those who were surveyed in Raleigh support the eye in the sky.

Regardless of personal experience, data shows that the number of fatal accidents has experienced a decrease at these intersections that have red-light cameras. Cameras or not, all motorists are asked to abide by all traffic signals and to be courteous towards other drivers on our roadways.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contact the North Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid.

Additional Resources:

Red-light cameras in doubt, by Bruce Siceloff, News Observer
More Blog Entries:

Tragic Asheville Car Accident Illustrates Summer Risks for Teens, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 27, 2011

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