Virginia Red Light Cameras Decrease Accidents, Study Shows

Posted on Mar 18, 2013

When a driver runs a red light, the most common type of accident that occurs is known as a t-bone or a side-impact accident.  Those involved in side-impact accidents are more vulnerable to injuries than are those who are in collisions to the front or rear of the vehicle. This is because the front and back ends of vehicles are structurally stronger than are the sides. One result is that people involved in t-bone accidents often sustain serious injuries, long-term disability, paralysis, or even death.  All over the United States, cities are attempting to decrease their numbers of serious side-impact accidents by installing red light cameras.  When a person runs a red light they are sent a ticket in the mail.  It is hoped that the signage stating that there are red light cameras installed acts as a deterrent to drivers, reminding them to stop. 

A recent study, conducted in Arlington, Virginia, found that the cameras and accompanying signage were highly successful.  The cameras were installed at four busy intersections and one year later, the number of red light violations had declined. According to the report, instances of drivers blowing through a light 1.5 seconds after it had turned red—when an accident is most likely to result—dropped 86 percent since the cameras were installed. Violations within one second of the light turning red dropped by 48 percent, while violations within a half-second decreased by 39 percent.  Those intersections also saw a decrease in catastrophic side-impact accidents.

Another city that has seen success was Virginia Beach, Virginia.  However, after the red light cameras were removed, drivers were quick to return to their red-light-running ways. 

Washington DC has approximately 50 cameras in all.  While a study has not been officially conducted, the accident reports for those intersections have declined. 

While car accidents in Virginia and DC still occur at red lights, the occurrence of the more serious accidents declined in each city that has had cameras installed.

If you were involved in a car accident in Virginia or DC, contact the Fairfax lawyers at Shevlin Smith today.  Our car accident attorneys are able to help you navigate the recovery process.  Call 703.591.0067 today.

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