Red light accidents continue to present a serious threat to highway safety in West Virginia and across the country. According to studies, as many as 800 people are killed each year in crashes linked to drivers illegally running red lights while thousands more are severely injured. Red light cameras are one method that municipalities across the country have adopted to reduce violations. The cameras monitor for cars that speed through red lights and their license plate information. Drivers in violation will often receive a ticket in the mail.
Some people have criticized the red light cameras across the country. They say that the cameras may not make the roads safer at all and are primarily a mechanism for increasing city and police department revenue. Chicago, for example, came in for particularly harsh criticism. The well-known red light camera system was linked to costly fines. However, it also came simultaneously with yellow lights that ran for the shortest time allowable by law. The cameras were associated with an increasing number of rear-end motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers trying to speed through the yellows while avoiding a red light violation ticket.
However, studies continue to point to the value of the cameras as a means of cutting down on dangerous and even deadly auto accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says its research shows that the presence of cameras cuts down on red light violations by 40%. Even more, the institute says that cities with cameras have 21% fewer deaths caused in car accidents linked to red light running.
Negligent drivers, including those who run red lights, put others on the road at serious risk for severe injuries and permanent disabilities. People injured in car crashes caused by someone running a red light may consult with a personal injury attorney about pursuing compensation for their losses.