Running Red Lights

Here’s why you want to look both ways before going through a green light at an intersection.


Did you notice how many times there was a flash of light right before the collision? At least red light cameras caught those people. Without those cameras, the color of the light at the time of the collision would be one person’s word against another.

I always check cross traffic when the light turns green. It’s saved my butt many times.

That said, red light cameras (i.e. Automatic Ticket Machines ATMs) are all about the money and not about safety. Many cities that have red light cameras have been REDUCING the yellow light time just to create red light runners, make intersections even more dangerous and increase rear end accidents. Automatic Ticket Machines are not about safety and all about the money. Petition your local government to 1) get rid of the red light cameras and 2) add one second to the yellow light time if they are serious about increasing driver safety. Look at the posted video to see the rear-end or near-rear end collisions.


I just read in the paper today (I believe it was USA Today) that my state, NH, prohibits the use of cameras in traffic enforcement. I hope that statute stays on out books.

There are cameras mounted at massive numbers of intersections which do not issue citations. Those event recorders are usually on a finite time loop and are reviewed when needed, like after these accidents.

In this town we have zero “red light cams” that issue citations. What you WILL see, perched high above the arm with the signal light, is in fact a camera. At over three dozen intersections in this small town.

It’s quite interesting to see how long many of the lights have been red in some of these shots.
Even checking before proceding wouldn’t have avoided some of these.

Check out 0:40-0:45

Although I agree the guy made the wrong decision, trying to run the light/anticipating the car ahead would run it too…you have to admit, he did a darn good job of maneuvering that bus to avoid a) rear-endning the car ahead, or b) flipping the bus.

the 2 fire trucks was just hilarious

“Many cities that have red light cameras have been REDUCING the yellow light time just to create red light runners, make intersections even more dangerous and increase rear end accidents.”

I haven’t noticed that around here. There are plenty of red light cameras and the lights are timed the same as they ever were.

I saw that compilation last week or the week before. I noticed that several were not red light runners but bad left turns into oncoming traffic. Yes, there were a lot of true red light runners as well, and it appears that the first few were all at the same 2 intersections. Maybe there are some other factors that aren’t obvious in the video?

twotone, here are some facts that support the safety argument (with peer-reviewed sources cited):

*A Texas A&M Texas Transportation Institute study found traffic crashes at red light camera
locations across Texas decreased by approximately 30%. Right angle crashes, which usually
produce the most deaths and injuries, dropped by 43% (?Analysis On The Effectiveness Of
Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Systems In Texas,? Walden, 2008).

*A review of 10 U .S . and international red light camera research studies, conducted by the respected Cochrane Collaboration, found ?Red-light cameras are effective in reducing total casualty crashes? . In the best conducted of these studies, the reduction was nearly 30%? (Red - light cameras for the prevention of road traffic crashes, 2005).

*An Orange County, CA, government report found that one year after red light camera
installation, crashes at monitored intersections dropped by 46.7% in Garden Grove, 28.2% in
Costa Mesa, 16.2% in Santa Ana, 12.1% in San Juan Capistrano and 5.7% in Fullerton (Redlight Cameras: Automated Traffic Cops in Orange County, Orange County Grand Jury, 2004 - 2005).

Have you got any facts to support your argument for the status quo?

Cool video…

Did you notice how well that school bus maneuvered around the cars without hitting something??

Loved the one where the bike was hit (thankfully he was all right)…and it knocked him off his bike and the bike kept on going.

There are many dangerous intersections. And I ALWAYS use caution going through them. Luckily I’ve never been hit going through a intersection…but I have been rear-ended (3 times) while stopped at a red-light. Those nasty intersections are one reason I don’t like driving in Boston. I take the T whenever I can.

This video makes a great case for red light cameras. After all, we have a moral obligation to protect those abiding by the law from those who break the law. The only freedom you lose with red light cameras is the right to break the law and avoid the penalty. Is that really a protected right?

Sure, lots of studies:

Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents: 5 Studies That Prove It

And more:

Is that enough?


It looks like a mixed bag to me. For example, from the first link:

Consistent with the findings of a previous Virginia study (Garber et al., 2005), this study finds that cameras are associated with an increase in rear-end crashes (about 27% or 42% depending on the statistical method used as shown in Tables ES1 and H1) and a decrease in red light running crashes (about 8% or 42% depending on the statistical method used as shown in Tables ES1 and H2). This report also shows that there is significant variation by intersection and by jurisdiction: one jurisdiction (Arlington) suggests that cameras are associated with an increase in all six crash types that were explicitly studied (rearend, angle, red light running, injury red light running, total injury, and total) whereas two other jurisdictions saw decreases in most of these crash types.

With one statistical method, there was no change in accident rates. In addition, the accident rate changes varied by jurisdiction. That comes as no surprise to me, and it proves nothing, other than the fact that results vary based on location. It further reads:

These results cannot be used to justify the widespread installation of cameras because they are not universally effective. These results also cannot be used to justify the abolition of cameras, as they have had a positive impact at some intersections and in some jurisdictions.

Reading the the third study, the bias is apparent from the start, and it only confirms what I have said all along; if you shorten the yellow part of the cycle, you are doing it wrong. Nothing about this study was conducted in an unbiased manner. The author does a very poor job of hiding her/his bias.

The fourth study states:

Exhibit 2 indicates that red light running treatments have:
? Contributed to a 6.8 per cent decrease in fatal and injury collisions; and
? Contributed to an 18.5 per cent increase in property damage only collisions.

I can live with those saved lives. However, this one from the same study is even better:

Exhibit 2 indicates the red light running treatments have:
? Contributed to a 25.3 per cent decrease in fatal and injury angle collisions; and
? Contributed to a 17.9 per cent decrease in property damage only angle collisions.
The frequency of all angle collisions have been reduced with the implementation of the
treatments, with the greatest benefit being realized for the fatal and injury collisions.

However, this is my favorite part of this particular study:

[b]Conclusions and recommendations

Based on the results presented in this report, the Red Light Camera Enforcement Pilot Project has been shown to be an effective tool in reducing fatal and injury collisions, thereby preventing injuries and saving lives. For these reasons, it is the opinion of the evaluation study team that the pilot project has been worthwhile and would continue to be of benefit to any participating municipality.[/b]

You were supposed to come up with studies that prove red light cameras are bad, not just throw a bunch of crap against the wall to see what sticks. Didn’t you think I would read these studies? Did you read them?