Looking into accidents resulting from running a red light and the impact cameras had on the number of such crashes, the IIHS says that in the US alone, in the period between 2004 and 2008, 159 lives were saved in the areas where cameras are operational. In the cities under review with no cameras, 815 lives were lost.
The IIHS report looked at 99 US cities with populations over 200,000, finding that in the 14 cities where cameras are present, the number of red light crashes are 24 percent lower than in the cities with no cameras.
The effect of the cameras on the behavior of the drivers is, however, bigger than predicted, with the cautiousness displayed at intersections with cameras extending to pretty much all intersections with signals.
In the cities where cameras hang above the drivers' heads, 14 percent less crashes were recorded at unwatched intersections than in the cities with no cameras. These findings reinforce the belief that cameras, regardless of their location, “deter would-be violators.”
"Examining a large group of cities over several years allowed us to take a close look at the most serious crashes, the ones that claim people's lives," says Anne McCartt, Institute senior vice president for research and a co-author of the study. "Our analysis shows that red light cameras are making intersections safer."