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Impact of red-light cameras on car accidents remains hot topic for debate in Fort Lauderdale & West Palm Beach

To red light camera, or to not red light camera: in South Florida, that is the question.

TIME Magazine reports that a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that use of red light cameras in 14 large U.S. cities reduced the rate of fatal car accidents by roughly 25 percent based on crash data analyzed between 1996 and 2004.

And that’s not all. The report further revealed a drop in ALL fatal intersection-linked car accidents at sites where red light cameras were installed, not just among those tied to drivers running a red light. Overall the IIHS report estimates that 815 lives could have been saved if all large U.S. cities (those with populations of 200,000 or more) had the devices installed at their most densely-trafficked intersections.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys know that red light running is a problem all Florida drivers face. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2009 there were 56 fatal South Florida car accidents and 5,190 injury accidents caused by drivers who ran a traffic signal.

Another 22 fatal car accidents and more than 2,200 injury accidents were linked to drivers who disregarded a stop sign.

Florida is one of 22 states to have enacted some legislation permitting use of red light cameras. With that in mind, the IIHS report notes that use of said cameras is hotly debated and regularly challenged legally by a vocal minority who characterize such traffic enforcement tactics as an invasion of privacy. Because of this, a number of states have prohibited use of red light cameras.

The Sun Sentinel reports that a local review of traffic crash data collected from six Ft. Lauderdale intersections show there were 11 fewer fatal Fort Lauderdale car accidents in the four months after the devices were installed.

A set of dueling opinions published in the Palm Beach Post reveals both sides of this debate. Palm Beach Post editorial page editor Randy Shultz spotlights perceived “inherent flaws” in the red-light camera system, from administrative issues to legal challenges to lack of public support.

To this argument, the CEO of American Traffic Solutions James Tuton responded, pointing to the IIHS report and trumpeting the public safety angle. In his response Tuton notes that fines paid by red-light runners topped $4 million in funds channeled into the state’s trauma centers and Brain and Spinal Cord Injury trust. Since former Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act into law in May, 2010, close to 40 Intersection Safety Camera Programs have gone online.

The Palm Beach car accident lawyers at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing car accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Email us or call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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