Feature Flick: Here's Why You Shoudn't Run A Red Light

Yes, we all know that running red lights is wrong, illegal, and in some places, expensive. But one red light camera company decided to show how dangerous it is.

Today’s video find comes from American Traffic Solutions, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company that is the leader in manufacturing and selling red light cameras. The video is pretty simple: it’s a montage of drivers failing to stop for red lights, which results in a bunch of near-misses, slammed brakes, and a few collisions. The message: please stop at red lights. Understandable, considering the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates 676 people were killed in 2009 from crashes stemming from running red lights; another 130,000 were reportedly injured.

With all of the talk of red light cameras either reducing the number of drivers who run red lights or increasing the number of rear-end collisions when lights switch from yellow to red, the video might incite some debate. Many view red-light cameras not as a preventative measure but a Big Brotherish way for cities to rake in cash. A representative for the National Motorists Association told the Newark Star-Ledger he wondered why the company is “showing how [its] red light system doesn’t stop crashes.” The IIHS would beg to differ, suggesting camera enforcement in 14 large U.S. cities helped curb red light fatalities by as much as 24 percent.

Feel free to debate the issue in the comments section below – regardless of your side of the camera issue, we’re sure everyone can agree running a red is plenty dangerous. It’s hard to argue with the footage above…

Source: NJ.com via The Consumerist

Click here for video

the Red-light runner was the left-turning vehicle.
"Distracted" doesn't explain why the guy at 0:58 (the Linden left turner) swung a left turn with both a light that was multiple seconds away from turning red AND a large white SUV coming right at him. I would love to see the police report details about his age, eyesight (no central vision?), driving experience, and any unusual chemicals in his system. In this case, it's actually good that the camera was there, because otherwise the left turner would be claiming that the light was red and it was other guy's fault.
Joel Sinclair
Very few of those runners were intentional. I think this video should have been about distracted driving. I wonder how many of those drivers were texting, on the phone or messing with their radio?
Zeigh Owensby
Hey, do you expect the people that get a cut out of every ticket to be accurate when they scan these videos? There are several incidents reported where drivers clearly did nothing wrong, yet got a red-light running ticket because of human error and/or complete inattention of the "law enforcement employee". It took most of these drivers going to local media and having the threat of bad public relations for the photo traffic enforcement companies to be honorable for once. The most shameless incident was ticket being given to ALL the members of a funeral procession when they had an authorized police escort clearly visible!
Eagle Eye! Yeah, that crash shouldn't even be in this video, as it was not caused by a red light runner.
Cameras give a false sense of security, because even with high fines (example: $500 in California) they don't stop the real late runners - like in this video of accidents the cameras didn't prevent! Most real late runners don't do it on purpose - they fail to see the signal, because they are lost, unfamiliar with the area, distracted, or impaired. To stop the late runners, local traffic engineers need to make high-accident intersections more obvious, improve the visual cues that say, "You are coming to an important intersection." Florida's DOT found that improved pavement markings (plain old paint!) cut running by up to 74%, without installing cameras - thus without the side effect of increased rearenders. Also make the signal lights brighter, bigger in diameter, add backboards to them, and place the poles on the NEAR side of the intersection, not so far away. Put brighter bulbs in the street lights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs, for the cross streets. Longer yellows (which drop violations by 2/3, and the effect is permanent) and improved visual cues are easy and cheap to do, so can be done all over town, unlike cameras, which are expensive and can drive business away.
Check out the video :58-1:05 min. The SUV is clearly past the solid white line and into the intersection by the time the light turns red. The fault should actually be the car who fails to yield turning left.
Zeigh Owensby
I am for anything that gets people paying more attention to their driving, like increased drivers training, redesigned intersections, reasonable speed limits, and more. However, automated traffic enforcement is part of the problem and not the solution. Companies like American Traffic Solutions and RedFlex are in the game for one thing only; your money. They are also extremely good at media manipulation. This article quotes the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an organization overwhelmingly funded by the very institution that makes money off of surcharges to average drivers who were unfortunate enough to get a robo-ticket for doing something that a human cop wouldn't even notice. The majority of the IIHS reports are hand-picked statistics that justify whatever they want to promote. Automated traffic enforcement this their holly grail. The most notable recent report sited Chandler, Arizona as safest red-light camera city in the USA, but completely failed to acknowledge this communities expansive redesign of several intersections, two freeways built that bordered 50% of the city, and neighboring safer suburbs that had no red-light cameras at all! Ah, but the charade doesn't stop with the IIHS. Several polls commissioned by the camera companies have found a strong support for automated traffic enforcement, only to have those very voters kick them out of their communities when they got a chance to vote. Thankfully, more and more local governments are seeing through the smoke screen and terminating their red-light camera contracts. If the politicians don't do it, then the voters do (in all but one very narrow election across the nation). Better traffic safety at intersections is as simple as changing the yellow light duration, using an "all stop" timing pattern, increasing the signal/signage visibility, and more. Opps, but that only reduces accidents and saves lives without public extortion...

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