Surveillance cameras at major intersections dramatically reduce the number of drivers who barrel through red lights, two new research reports say. USA Today reports that the findings come as debate about the controversial devices continues a decade after they were introduced. The battles include a proposal to ban the cameras in Georgia, litigation in at least three states and legislative efforts to permit them in six other states.
The cameras automatically photograph vehicles that drive into intersections after the light turns red. Vehicle owners are then mailed citations instructing them to pay a fine or sign an affidavit that they weren’t driving at the time. More than 850 people die and and about 170,000 are injured each year in crashes caused by drivers running red lights, the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration says. Researchers studied the effectiveness of red light cameras in Philadelphia and Virginia Beach.