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Despite public distrust, red-light cameras save lives

Red-light running is a factor in hundreds of crashes every year in Florida and across the U.S. In 2016, more than 800 people died in red-light running crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. There is one way to reduce this trend, however. And it’s through the installation of red-light camera systems.

IIHS data shows that large cities with red-light cameras experience 21% fewer fatalities from red-light running crashes than those large cities without cameras. The systems can also reduce red-light violations by around 40%.

There has, incidentally, been a decline in U.S. communities with red-light camera systems. Between 2012 and 2018, it went from 533 to 421. During that time, red-light running crash fatalities rose 17%. However, other factors such as an increase in the number of cars on the road may have affected this trend.

Still, one may wonder why there are fewer communities with red-light cameras. Distrust is one reason as the public sees how governments can use cameras to generate revenue. That’s why it’s wise for communities that wish to install cameras to build public support in various ways. The IIHS gives a list of recommendations. For example, the early stages of camera installation should be publicized, and the community should have input when the program is reviewed.

A negligent driver who causes an accident after running a red light may be held liable for any resulting damages. Under the pure comparative negligence rule that Florida follows, victims who file a claim can recover damages but will have the amount in damages proportioned by their own degree of fault. To see if they have a strong case, a victim may want a lawyer to evaluate it. Legal counsel could also handle all negotiations for a settlement.

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