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NCSR: Safety Is The Bottom Line For Red-Light Camera Programs

WASHINGTON, Feb, 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As transportation research studies continue to provide mounting evidence of the success of red-light safety camera programs, the opposition becomes more vocal in shifting the focus away from the most important benefit of this technology — safety. The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) stands with police departments, traffic officials, road safety advocates and other partner organizations in an effort to focus on the life-saving benefits red-light safety cameras bring to more than 540 communities across the country.

"Red-light running is dangerous and all too often deadly," said Melissa Wandall, traffic safety advocate and NCSR President. "We have the tools available to reduce red-light running and positively change driver behavior. In honor of all those people whose lives were taken far too soon — including my husband Mark — I am proud to be a voice in the fight for these cameras and the crucial safety benefits they bring to our communities."

Years of research on data from local camera programs throughout the United States clearly support the camera's safety benefits. For example, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)  study of large U.S. cities in 2011 found that safety cameras reduced the rate of fatal red-light running collisions by 24 percent. The IIHS recently came out with another study that looked at a local camera program in Arlington, Va., where red-light running rates have decreased significantly at intersections with cameras. Study authors report an 86 percent decline in the most dangerous violations — those that occur 1.5 seconds into the red light cycle.

Communities that have seen how red-light cameras make their intersections safer largely support their use. In Pohatcong Township in New Jersey last fall, citizens showed their support for the cameras with a 56 percent majority of voters agreeing that safety cameras should remain on their roadways beyond the 2016 expiration of the initial contract.

A recent report in Florida found that 56 percent of communities experienced a reduction in crashes at intersections with safety cameras. These Florida communities are also seeing benefits beyond safety from their camera programs. A portion of the ticket funds from red-light runners are distributed to Florida trauma centers and research centers for paralysis, aiding the victims of red-light running crashes who often suffer from life-threatening injuries. Wandall was instrumental in passing the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act in Florida that allowed for the camera programs and ensured part of the funds would go to help victims of car crashes. More on Florida's programs and the Wandall Safety Act can be seen in this informative video.

"People who illegally run red lights and put everyone sharing the roadways in danger should be held accountable for their reckless actions," said Wandall. "Often these offenders will be angry for getting caught and play the victim. But the true victims are those people who lose their lives in red-light running collisions and the ones they leave behind."

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