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Red light cameras cut traffic fatalities in some California cities but not all, study finds

February 1, 2011 |  7:31 am


A new national report says red-light cameras at intersections reduced traffic fatalities in some cities, including several in California.

Click here to see an interactive graphic on red light video cameras The study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at traffic data from 2004-2008 and concluded that in large cities where the cameras were installed, there were 159 fewer fatalities.

Long Beach, Santa Ana, Sacramento and San Diego all saw reductions in fatal crashes at signaled intersections during this period after they installed cameras, the report said. Anaheim, which did not install cameras, saw a 29% drop. Bakersfield did install some cameras but recorded a 35% increase in crashes.

Red-light cameras have become increasingly controversial. Some critics said cities are using them to increase revenue, a claim officials deny.

The institute described its methodology this way: "Looking at the 99 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000, the researchers compared those with red light camera programs to those without. Because they wanted to see how the rate of fatal crashes changed after the introduction of cameras, they compared two periods, 2004-08 and 1992-96. Cities that had cameras during 1992-96 were excluded from the analysis, as were cities that had cameras for only part of the later study period."


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--Shelby Grad