Red Light Cameras – Is Big Brother Watching?

As a professional limousine driver, you need to be aware that intersections are where most accidents happen.

In recent years, whether you are a professional limo driver or not, you can’t seem to escape the scrutiny of a camera, no matter where in the world you are. On street corners, in businesses, on highways and roadways, on the dashboards of vehicles and in the hands of anyone over the age of 5! But one area that has been causing a lot of controversy is the benefit of red light cameras set up at busy intersections to, in theory, make dangerous intersections safer for all drivers.

Dueling Surveys

For more than seven years, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been studying the impact, safety and general attitudes towards red light cameras. The surveys have examined rural, suburban and urban roadways and have questioned thousands of people of various driving ages to compile their data. In the latest IIHS survey published in June 2011, the results indicated that, while respondents felt that the cameras were primarily put in place to raise revenue from drivers running red lights, there was no doubt that in cities using red light cameras there was a major drop in fatal crashes. The study data also shows that motorists are more likely to comply with traffic laws when they perceive a high likelihood of being cited for a violation. Thus the ultimate conclusion is that red light cameras are a
beneficial addition to the safety of the motoring public.

However this study has come under scrutiny from several sources and seems to be coming down to a battle between advocates and enemies of red light cameras. The University of South Florida (USF) Department of Health Policy and Management questioned the lack of some data that should have been used by IICF to compile their figures. USF further focused on seven studies that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified as the most scientifically sound with regard to red light cameras. None seemed to find any significant safety benefit from the cameras, and several showed that crashes actually increased!

Cameras Are A Fact Of Life

No matter what your feelings about red light cameras, their use is increasing across the
country. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 21 states have laws permitting at least one type of intersection enforcement device and 10 states have acted to prohibit using them as an enforcement tool. As a professional limousine driver, you need to be aware that intersections are where most of the traffic accidents
in the United States happen. As you approach, keep your eyes moving, watch for “stale green” lights and flashing cross walk signs that indicate the light is about to turn red, cover your brake and slow down to better prepare yourself for all the problems a busy intersection can bring.

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