Numbers rarely lie, and the numbers produced by the 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) say red-light cameras do indeed save lives.
Red-light cameras take photos of people running red lights. The study showed intersections with red-light cameras see a drop in the number of violations. Consequently, the number of accidents goes down, and as the number of accidents drops, the number of fatalities drops as well.
While the logic is straight-forward -- fewer violations, fewer accidents, and fewer deaths -- detractors say the use of the cameras can move away from the original safety intent and shade into a revenue-generating tactic for the 500-plus cities across the country now using them. Indeed, one study from the University of Southern Florida College of Public Health claims the cameras can, under specific circumstances, increase the number of accidents and possible related fatalities.
Yet since the first red-light cameras were installed more than a decade ago they've helped reduce the number of accidents at the intersections where they're used as well as other areas of large cities. While their ultimate use and presence can be argued, the results of the IIHS study show they are effective.
Keep reading to find out more about the study's results and how the cameras work.